The Guardian ran a long profile of actor, director, author, and activist Angelina Jolie this weekend, with both Jolie and writer Simon Hattenstone doing their apparent damnedest to try to make the piece as much as possible about Jolie’s passions, her new book about the UN-guaranteed rights of children, and her work promoting the struggles and heroism of activists and refugees in areas like Syria and Afghanistan. But—especially in light of Jolie’s long custody struggles with former husband Brad Pitt over their six children, and its connection to the topic of the rights of children—it was probably inevitable that some Angelina Jolie, Famous Hollywood Actress stuff would slip in, and, probably equally inevitably, it’s the kind of stuff that’s fairly difficult to look away from once it’s in the ether.
Specifically: Jolie talks about Harvey Weinstein, who she says assaulted her early in her career, circa her role in 1988’s Playing By Heart. “I worked with him when I was young,” Jolie says, “If you get yourself out of the room, you think he attempted but didn’t, right? The truth is that the attempt and the experience of the attempt is an assault. It was beyond a pass, it was something I had to escape.” Jolie says that she did her best to warn other young women away from working with Weinstein, and that she turned down a part in The Aviator due to his involvement. Her then-husband was less willing to take similar stances, though; Jolie notes in the profile that, “Of course it hurt” when Pitt chose to star in the Weinstein-produced Inglourious Basterds, and brought Weinstein onboard as a producer on a film in 2012. “We fought about it.”
Other Pitt material in the interview is more circumspect, at least in part because the legal issues surrounding the custody fight are still ongoing—and, in part, served as the inspiration for her writing about children’s rights. “I’m not the kind of person who makes decisions like the decisions I had to make lightly,” she notes, alluding to the divorce, and her allegations of abusive behavior against Pitt. “It took a lot for me to be in a position where I felt I had to separate from the father of my children.”
The end result is a messy, but striking, profile, one often forced to talk obliquely about Jolie’s personal connection to the book she’s striving to publicize and promote. (Titled Know Your Rights, and co-written by Geraldine Van Bueren QC and Amnesty International.) You can read the full piece here.