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    Salt Director: Casting Angelina Jolie Went From "Outrageous" to Brilliant

    Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Knight and Day, Angelina Jolie, Salt Frank Masi/20th Century Fox; Columbia Pictures

    You all know by now Angelina Jolie's new flick was originally moving forward with Tom Cruise. So how did the script land at chez Jolie-Pitt and how was Angie convinced to actually do it?

    Said the Salt star at Monday night's premiere about why she was ready to "get out of her nightgown" and get back to work after a year off:

    "I hadn't seen a film where a woman had done...I had done a lot of action movies but none that were based in reality. So it was such a big challenge, [people] weren't sure it could be pulled off. Anytime someone questions if something can be pulled off, it's hard not to want to try."

    But the decision wasn't all Jolie's...

    Salt director Phillip Noyce told us Monday about what he really thought of changing the already penned male lead to female.

    "Well, Tom [Cruise] was never signed, but he was really thinking about it. We needed a start date, so we needed an actor. Amy Pascal, head of Sony Pictures, said ‘Let's send it to Angelina.' It seemed for a moment to be an outrageous idea! Then I thought about it and realized it only had pluses."

    Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura told us he was onboard because Jolie was no girlie-girl.

    "It's true that Amy Pascal had joked to [Angelina] about her being a Bond Girl one day and Angelina really said, ‘No I don't want to be a Bond Girl. I want to be Bond.' When it didn't work out with Tom, this seemed like the movie to give her that shot. They've been talking about this notion for a while."

    So the ball was back in the director's court. Was Noyce really sure a chick could pull of the lead in this kind of blockbuster? Yes, when said woman is Angelina Jolie.

    "She trains so hard, and she does so much preparation for stunt sequences," praised Noyce. "She is just absolutely focused, and she really knows how to make believe and how to act.

    "You really believe that she is knocking those bad guys down with such strength!"

    And as Angie dished to us, she loves playing that bad-ass role. Voilà, Salt.

    Jolie and Noyce also worked together 10 years ago on The Bone Collector, so teaming back up again was starting to seem like a fab idea.

    "It was amazing to see how much she had matured," P.N. said about directing A.J. this time around. "Interestingly though, she had the same fearlessness even when she was a youngster."

    Oh babe, we so know that! And for the record, Sony is about to make themselves tons more moola thanks to its sudden change in casting. Don't think the Knight & Day folks can say the same. Think about it: If they had had Angelina and Cameron Diaz hot for each other onscreen, that stuff may have even beaten Eclipse!

    Follow @theawfultruth and @taryder on Twitter!

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    Photos: Fashion Spotlight: Angelina Jolie

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