Working with Pitt on a previous film in 2005, director Doug Liman described the celeb’s more earthy persona.
Paparazzi descends upon ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’
Taking on the starring role in the 2005 film Mr. & Mrs. Smith opposite Angelina Jolie definitely made an impact on Pitt’s entire life. Married to Jennifer Aniston when production started, Pitt’s off-screen romance with Jolie soon became public. After the Fight Club star and Aniston split, Pitt and Jolie embarked on an 11-year relationship that resulted in marriage and six kids. Jolie filed for divorce in 2016.
Liman recalled the onslaught of paparazzi drawn to the set by the two mega stars.
“They followed Brad the first day,” Liman told Entertainment Weekly in 2005. “Somebody said, ‘That’s Brad arriving.’ We heard the helicopter before we heard him — a helicopter that had been following him since he left the Beverly Hills Hotel. That was taking it up to a new level. We were told that a photo of [Pitt and Jolie] together would be worth $300,000.”
When rumors of a romance between the co-stars began circulating, Liman remembered having to be extra careful on how the crew spoke since their conversations were no longer private.
“[Then the paparazzi] were using a scanner to listen to our walkie-talkies,” Liman recalled. “One of the PAs got yelled at because he said something that could have been misinterpreted. We were shooting in the supermarket-shelf section of an IKEA-type store, and [Pitt and Jolie] were like, you know, fiddling around with the paddle balls or something. … And a PA said, ‘Brad is screwing around with Angie.’ They’re like, ‘Look, you’ve got to be careful how you speak’ … On this movie, saying someone was ‘screwing around’ would have a different context.”
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie get steamy
With the film including some particularly sultry scenes, Liman found Jolie to be more at ease than Pitt with the provocative content.
“It was awkward for me, coming from a relatively uptight family,” the Mr. & Mrs. Smith director explained. “They were pretty comfortable with it. I mean, I think Brad and I were more uncomfortable, ’cause she’s such a force to be reckoned with. Occasionally she’d make a comment and both of us would be like, ‘Whoa!'”
Liman noted this wasn’t the first time Jolie used a direct approach when it came to sensitive material.
“She’s just very — she likes to be shocking,” Liman said of Jolie. “Just read any interview she’s given. She likes to be that person in the room who’s least embarrassed, and willing to put it out there.”
On-screen role reversal for Pitt and Jolie
Playing husband-and-wife assassins who work for opposing agencies, Pitt and Jolie had to portray the domesticities of married life along with the edginess of Bond-like characters. Limon saw the two actors as having opposing strengths to their roles off camera, where Pitt gravitated toward homemaking qualities.
“She in the movie is playing the way Brad is in real life, and vice versa,” the director said. “I mean, he really is a homemaker. He’s into fabrics and art and architecture and what color is on the wall, is it eggshell or ecru? But for Angie, bringing her into that suburban home and trying to sit [her] down at the dinner table? I might as well have asked her to simulate being on a spacecraft. She had no point of reference at all, from her own life, of what a normal home would be like.”
Jolie’s knowledge and curiosity for weaponry surpassed her co-star’s and served as an asset to the film.
“She’s much more into weapons, as a human being, than Brad is,” Liman said of Jolie. “Any time my prop guy did show-and-tells of knives and guns, she’d be very, very knowledgeable. I’m looking at them wondering if they look cool, and she’s asking, ‘Does this also come with a serrated blade?’ … Details I wouldn’t even know existed.”
Mr. & Mrs. Smith was a box office hit and earned good reviews from critics, though the praise was more for the couple’s electric chemistry than the film’s plot.