A few years back, Angelina Jolie appeared to make the transition from A-list actress to hard-at-work director. Beginning with 2011’s In the Land of Blood and Honey, Jolie put together a four-film stint that really made it seem like her natural place was going to be behind the camera. But acting roles are luring her back before the lens for roles in the Maleficent sequel, the upcoming Eternals for Marvel, and this week’s Those Who Wish Me Dead.

When CinemaBlend got the opportunity to speak with Angelina Jolie about this new acting gig, we inquired if her experiences as a director better helped her to prepare for what actors need to accomplish on set, and whether it’s possible for her to simply turn off the part of her brain that “directs” when she only has to pay attention to her performance. Her answer is in the video above.

In the film Those Who Wish Me Dead, Angelina Jolie steps into the role of a Montana firefighter who encounters a boy who’s on the run through her wooded territory. The boy’s father got in bad with some vicious characters, and they are trailing the kid, with the intention of killing him. Jolie aims to help, but her hands are full with a raging fire fight, as well.

That plot, alone, creates all kinds of complications for the characters on screen. But it’s also a major headache for a filmmaker. Young actors can only work a certain amount of hours in the day. Then, on top of that, when you are dealing with fire and practical effects, it adds new elements of danger that real actors have to be aware of. Seeing as how Jolie has logged time behind the camera, she knows that a director like Taylor Sheridan is thinking about all of this, and so she told CinemaBlend:

I think it helps because I think, well I hope anyway, that now working with other directors I’m more sensitive to what they’re going through, what they need, and then able to offer assistance to push… you kind of look at the whole production. I would know what he was up against if we were doing fire elements, and the crew, and the stunts -- the hours, and Finn’s hours. I hope it helped! (laughs) To be able to support more. When I was younger, I was just more aware of what the actor needs. And now I’m very, very aware of… the actor needs to step back and (laughs) listen to the whole production.

It’s hard for just any actor to understand all that a director is dealing with on a set, and it takes putting yourself through the “flames” of production to fully understand all that a filmmaker juggles. Jolie was definitely carving an interesting niche as a director, and while she’s staying active with acting gigs, I hope she finds new material to direct soon.

Angelina Jolie Those Who Wish Me Dead

Look for Those Who Wish Me Dead on HBO Max and in select theaters starting May 14.

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