It's been more than a decade since director Phillip Noyce put Angelina Jolie through her paces in a film, but the veteran Australian helmer claims the actress really hasn't changed so much.
"She remains as fearless as ever," says Noyce, who cast Jolie in 1999's "The Bone Collector" and now has her running all over the screen as an alleged renegade spy in "Salt."
"She was already an accomplished actress and was about to go onto 'Girl, Interrupted," which was her next film and for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress," Noyce recalls about the first meeting with his now-established star. "Angelina had already done 'Gia' (for HBO), arguably one of her greatest portrayals, but she was still relatively inexperienced and also a complete unknown -- a wallflower at my Sunday barbecue when she came to visit and nobody was talking to her as she sat alone in the corner.
"Ten years later," Noyce says with a big smile, "everyone wants to talk to her. Every time she appears in public, she's photographed. Every day there's speculation about her real character which, interestingly, seemed to mirror up the part she was playing (in "Salt").
"Now, she's done so many movies since ("Bone Collector") while I've only done three. So, she comes back enormously experienced and. if at the beginning I was teaching her, now I realized that I had something to learn from her, particularly in the area of executing stunts and action sequences, which she had done so much of in the 10 years in between.
"As I say,' Noyce concludes, "what hasn't changed is that, when she was young, she didn't know any better and so she was absolutely fearless. She'd try anything. When she came back (for "Salt"), she was at the top of her notoriety -- and arguably an iconic figure in the world -- and right at the top of her popularity.
"But, she still had no fear. She still wanted to try anything, whether it was physical or psychological, and she only wanted to be excited by ideas and inspired (by them). That was the same person that I met 1o years before. And, of course, none of the microscopic invasion of her private life ever intruded onto the set."
"Having worked with Phillip 10 years ago, I knew that he was one of those rare directors that really does love drama and dramatic films, but also really loves a good action sequence," Jolie says.
"He's very meticulous when it comes to details of research on all these things. So, I knew that it wouldn't be a silly movie. I knew that it would be more complex than the average action movie."