Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Jolie Adds X-Factor to Spy Thriller; SPY TIME: Aussie Director Phillip Noyce Relaunches the Cold War Genre

Newspaper article Tweed Daily News (Tweed Heads, Australia)

Jolie Adds X-Factor to Spy Thriller; SPY TIME: Aussie Director Phillip Noyce Relaunches the Cold War Genre

Article excerpt

Byline: Ross Purdie

Salt was meant to be a James Bond-style enigma called "Edwina until Angelina Jolie's spy credentials were first muted.

Suddenly the film's lead character was renamed Evelyn and Australian director Phillip Noyce had a blockbuster on his hands.

The acclaimed filmmaker has revealed how his new action thriller Salt was transformed the minute he asked Academy Award-winning actress Jolie to become his latest super spy instead of a man.

He had just exhausted a long list of male actors, none of whom were fit for the role, when a producer remembered Jolie once joking about how she wished she could play James Bond.

Within moments Evelyn Salt was born.

"I thought for about 11 seconds that it was a pretty far fetched idea," said Noyce, who previously worked with Jolie on his 1999 film The Bone Collector.

"But I quickly realised how perfect she would be, it just meant that all the relationships were far richer and all the physical encounters were twice as entertaining

"The idea of the most beautiful woman in the world leading half of America's intelligence services on a merry chase and defeating them with a combination of brains and brawn is part of the deliciousness and entertainment of this movie."

After casting Jolie in the lead role as a Russian sleeper spy, Salt's producers set about questioning the dynamic of every scene and moulding her character to fit the film's frantic cat-and-mouse story line.

Interaction among characters was slanted to account for the fact that the movie's hero had suddenly become female, a challenge Jolie relished as she embarked on one of her most physically demanding performances on screen.

"She's an incredibly focused person who like the greatest entertainers is totally caught up in putting on a show and totally connected to an audience," Noyce said.

"I know Angelina the performer, and if she has any baggage in her life she certainly checks it in at the door each morning."

The steady hand behind films like Patriot Games, The Quiet American and Dead Calm, Noyce is well versed at getting the best out of some of Hollywood's biggest stars and having harboured boyhood dreams to become a spy himself, he's managed to use the privilege to his advantage. …

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