After watching the chilly, violent, lushly filmed trailer for “By the Sea,” the new movie starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie-Pitt (which she also directed and wrote), I wondered what the film's intentions were. The trailer featured little dialogue and even less narrative clarity. Fortunately, the married stars just proved in a “Today Show” interview with Tom Brokaw that they remain pointed and focused as celebrities who know how to be, above all else, intriguing and relevant. Here's what we gathered about the superstars and their new movie from their sit-down with the legendary anchor.
1. They swear they don't relate to “By the Sea” at all.
Every preview for “By the Sea” looks like a cross between the most serious De Beers commercial of all time and “Boom!”, that weird Richard Burton/Elizabeth Taylor melodrama set on a secluded isle. Since it's apparently about a tattered marriage, Jolie-Pitt understandably feels the need to declare it's not an autobiographical portrait: “I'm counting on the audience to know that if it was close to us at all, we could never make this film. It's because we're very actually very, very stable and these aren't our issues.”
2. “By the Sea” may be Brad and Angelina's most serious film. Seriously.
There's a very distinct chance “By the Sea” is not the wild, tantrum-heavy telenovela we want it to be. According to Angelina, she was inspired to make this film after her visiting her ill mother Marcheline Bertrand in the hospital. “There was a woman down the hall who was wailing, and I later found out it was a young woman who had not had children,” Angelina said. “And that put everything into perspective.” Thaaaat's not fun at all. I wasn't prepared for such a grim subject, and now I'm bracing myself for a movie I can't just call “The Tourist II.”
3. Angelina only gives interviews when she is completely prepared to give smart, comprehensive, perfectly worded answers.
Have we ever seen Angelina Jolie stumble on her words in an interview? She's the ultimate statesman of our A-list celebrities. The way she describes her personal and harrowing experience with preventative cancer procedures, reconstructive surgery, hormone replacement therapy, and early on-set menopause is direct and meaningful. It's actually kind of awesome to see a star take such care of the time she spends in the spotlight. Though it's great we have celebrities who use social media to remain in a constant dialogue with fans (and non-fans), Angelina's well-curated approach refines her impact. The precision is effective.
4. They've already considered that “By the Sea” is an unofficial sequel to “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.”
Hard to believe these two haven't costarred in a movie since their romantic spy caper “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” in 2005. But the couple already knows that many will want to compare their film with that decade-old movie. “We were joking at one point, we were saying this would be compared [to 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith.' That was the beginning and this is ten years later,” Angelina said. “This is what ten years of marriage will do to you.”
5. There has never been a Hollywood couple more capable of giving unbelievable quotes.
Brad and Angelina are clearly ultra-aware of soundbite culture. Just listen to how Angelina ties up the interview with Brokaw. Does this not sound like the final line in a memoir? Many of us will have cancer. We will all die. So to face these issues together and speak about them and talk about what it is to be human can be a beautiful thing.” It's the kind of thoughtfulness makes you think there's a reason certain superstars remain superstars for a long, long time — even if they're not as compulsively forthcoming as some of their contemporaries.