Angelina Jolie turned down a sequel to Wanted (2008), a decision that later cost her a role in Gravity (2012), but she know’s a good franchise when she sees one. The role she chose over Wanted’s sequel was for a role in an action movie called Salt (2010), a role in which she did what she does best — transcend gender boundaries. The action role was originally going to Tom Cruise, and is now lined up for a sequel. So why Salt over Wanted? Her decision is made more curious when we compare the facts and figures between the two films. Wanted raked in $341.4 million worldwide, while Salt trailed behind at $293.5 million. Wanted also earned higher ratings on Rotten Tomatoes at 71%, compared to Salt’s 62%.
It could be that Salt actually presented greater possibilities as an action-spy franchise, as well as the added appeal of seeing a woman in an action role, but it still remains that Wanted had a better plot.
In an interview with Vogue on the question of playing the character of Evelyn Salt, Jolie said, “I felt it was a weird thing that every time you ask for a strong female role, it’s written in this strange way where it uses sexuality far too much, or it’s all about being a woman and beating a man. So it wasn’t a surprise to me that the only way to do a strong female role properly was to not have it originally written for a woman.”
Jolie can use her sex appeal on the big screen to sell movie tickets, this is without any doubt. This was especially true for her role in both Tomb Raider (2010) and Wanted (2008). The difference being that in Salt, she didn’t have to get naked to sell tickets. Not once was she required to remove her clothes, seeing as the role was originally written for a man (Cruise). She has built a formidable reputation as a female action hero and she knows it too. People will go see her regardless, and that’s her bargaining chip. She can well afford to pick and choose more discerningly.
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck who directed Jolie in The Tourist said, “She gets every single script that has a female role aged between 18 and 40 — every script. And she just follows her feeling, holds her own counsel. She’s probably the only global megastar that doesn’t even have an agent — she doesn’t even have a publicist.”
Sony’s Columbia has the sequel to Salt in the pipeline. Jolie has not yet accepted the role, but if the story is not to her liking, she will certainly demand a re-write or she’ll pass it up, seeing as she now has that option.
Contact the Author: MikeStringer@ArtsandEntertainmentPlayground.com