Actresses challenged by real-life roles

Fri Jan 18, 2008 3:58am EST
 
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By Stephen Galloway

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - In April 2005, Angelina Jolie was in Namibia, pregnant for the first time and awaiting the birth of her child.

It was a period of enormous emotional upheaval, not only because of the imminent baby, but also because Jolie had invited Mariane Pearl to stay with her. And now here she was, huddled with Pearl, director Michael Winterbottom and producer Brad Pitt, all developing a movie version of Pearl's memoir, "A Mighty Heart," about her husband's abduction and death at the hands of terrorists.

Looking back, Jolie remembers how difficult the experience was for Pearl.

"It was hard having to make her talk about so much of it and watching her walk off to her tent, looking at her and realizing: This is a woman's memory of the worst time in her life," Jolie recalls. "Watching her and watching (her late husband Daniel's) boy run around -- it was very heavy, and we all grew up with it."

Growing up is an inevitable part of the acting process and comes with any true immersion into another person's life, whether fictional or not. But it happens to an even greater extent when the role is real.

This year, a number of actresses have taken on the challenge of playing real-life people -- from Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose" to Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." Emmanuelle Seigner in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," played a lesser-known character, but that did not diminished the challenge.

FEAR OF BETRAYAL

Speak to these actresses and the first thing they mention is the moral responsibility involved.   Continued...

 
<p>Cast members Dan Futterman and Angelina Jolie, Mariane Pearl and producer Brad Pitt (L-R) depart after a gala screening of British director Michael Winterbottom's film "A Mighty Heart" at the 60th Cannes Film Festival May 21, 2007. This year, a number of actresses have taken on the challenge of playing real-life people -- from Jolie as Pearl, Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose" to Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age. REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier</p>