by Zach Johnson | Tue., Sep. 5, 2017 5:55 AM
After spending months behind the camera, Angelina Jolie is ready to step in front of it again.
She spent several months in 2016 directing First They Killed My Father (available Sept. 15 in select theaters and on Netflix), and now she's gearing up to star in her first movie since 2015's By the Sea, the romantic drama she wrote, directed and starred in opposite her then-husband Brad Pitt. "Right now I don't have anything to direct that I feel passionate about like this [First They Killed My Father], so I'll do some acting," she tells The Hollywood Reporter. "I've taken over a year off now, because of my family situation, to take care of my kids." As her children's needs come first, the actress adds, "When I feel it's time for me to go back to work, I'll be able to go back to work. I've been needed at home. I hope [to work again] in the months to come."
(The Oscar winner began flirting with the idea of retiring from acting in 2010, teasing in a Vanity Fair interview, "I don't think I'll do it much longer." Two years later, Angelina told E! News, "I still love acting—if I can find those roles that matter. But if I don't, it's nice to be able to shine the spotlight on another actress you think is extremely talented and give her the spotlight.")
Walt Disney Studios
Angelina says she is "most likely" going to shoot Walt Disney Pictures' Maleficent sequel next, as they're "working on" that now. "And I look forward to having some fun with that. Cleopatra, there is a script. There's a lot of different things floating around. But I haven't committed."
Eventually, Angelina "would love to" stop acting altogether and focus on directing full-time. "At some point, I'll probably just direct. If I'm allowed to. But you just don't know if you can have a career as a director," the actress admits. "You don't know how things are going to be received."
For now, Angelina is focused on promoting First They Killed My Father, which centers around the horrors of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia the '70s. She hired her 16-year-old son Maddox Jolie-Pitt as a producer, as she had adopted him from the country when hew as an infant. While the actress-turned-director speaks "very little" Khmer, a few of her six children do. "Mad is very proud to be Cambodian; he loves languages. He's actually focused on German, Russian, Korean and French—he's a linguist. He speaks a little Khmer, but I'm not forcing it," she says. "It's very important that he does as much as he wanted to do and that he loves it naturally." Daughter Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, 11, "speaks the most" Khmer. "My kids are from different countries, but there's an understanding: 'You don't have to like a country just because you were born in it.'"
"You need to respect all countries," she adds. "And be very open to each other's, of course."
According to Angelina, it was Maddox who requested she make First They Killed My Father, adapted from family friend Loung Ung's memoir. "We'd had the script for a few years. We said, 'When you're ready—because you're going to have to work with us—go deep, research, be there,'" she recalls. "I said, 'I'm ready to do this when you're ready. We're going to go deep into your country's history. You're going to work with your fellow countrymen and learn and love. This is going to be very immersive and I need you to be ready to understand what this all means.' One day he told me he was ready, and so I called Loung. My other son is Vietnamese, [Pax Jolie-Pitt, 13]. Very different. Very complex history, the two countries. There's a scene in the movie where one side of the river is Vietnamese and the other Cambodian and they're shooting at each other. To have both my boys on set! It wasn't lost on us."
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