RD: Is it true that you adopted Pax so Maddox would have a brother who looked like him?
Jolie: Something changed for me with Shiloh. We had Mad and Z, and neither looked like Mommy or Daddy. Then suddenly somebody in the house looked like Mommy and Daddy. It became clear to us that it might be important to have somebody around who is similar to the other children so they have a connection. Mad’s been very excited that his brother is from Asia.
RD: Who’s the disciplinarian?
Jolie: When it comes to the boys, it’s Brad, and with the girls, it’s me. It’s not intentional, but Z can pretty much get anything she wants from her dad. Brad’s like a strong father with the boys.
RD: You lost your mother a few months ago. How are you coping?
Jolie: I’m one of those people who walk around as if it’s fine, and then suddenly I don’t know why I’m crying over my breakfast. My mother was my best friend. I’m so grateful I had her as a mom. She had cancer for seven years, but she lived long enough to see my brother and I grow up to be quite happy. You almost get the feeling she held on until it was okay.
RD: You like to do risky things like flying planes and riding motorcycles. Do you think more about your safety now that you have four kids?
Jolie: I don’t do drugs. I don’t intentionally ride a motorcycle without a helmet. I will always be careful. But I live a bold life, and I’m a happy mother because of that. I think the bigger question is, Am I living the life that I want my kids to see? If something happened to me doing something I believed in, then I suppose that’s the legacy I would leave as a mother.
RD: I just read A Mighty Heart, on which your new film is based. What drew you to make this film?
Jolie: We’re living in a time when there’s so much anger and a lack of faith in our ability to find solutions together. Mariane is a person who has every right to be full of hate, and yet she’s completely the opposite. She wants to have dialogue with people; that’s how Danny was, with his appreciation and interest in that side of the world. To shoot the film, people from Pakistan, India, Britain, America, Muslims, Christians came together. It’s an example of what is possible.
RD: Mariane was six months pregnant when her husband was kidnapped, and I understand that you were pregnant during preproduction of the film. What effect did that have?
Jolie: When we worked on the script, I was six months pregnant. Mariane sat with me and held my hand and told me what was happening to her when she was six months pregnant. I thought, My God, I know what I’m feeling right now and I can’t imagine handling that. It was so important for me to have my family and Brad with me at the time, and to understand it’s that life — Adam, Mariane’s child — that clearly pulled her through.
RD: The story is anguishing. Was it hard to re-create what happened?
Jolie: It was difficult thinking, What if Adam sees this one day? The pressure normally is wondering what the audience is going to take out of it. It’s very different when you feel the story represents a family you want to honor.