Coming out this week is the action packed spy thriller, ‘Salt,’ starring Angelina Jolie, Liev Schreiber, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Jolie stars as Evelyn Salt, a CIA officer who swore an oath to duty, honor, and country. When she is accused by a defector of being a Russian sleeper spy, Salt goes on the run to clear her name and ultimately prove she is a patriot. Using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative, she must elude capture and protect her husband or the world’s most powerful forces will erase any trace of her existence.
Ejiofor plays Peabody, a CIA counter-intelligence officer.
The role was rewritten for Jolie after Tom Cruise was initially attached as Edwin Salt.
Black Voices caught up with Jolie and Chiwetel in Washington D.C as they promoted the film and talked about the difference in the gender switch for Jolie.
When you first read the script was it already modified to be Evelyn Salt?
Angelina Jolie: No. I got a call that said, ‘We’ve got a role, we’ve got a movie for you and your name is Edwin and you have a wife.’
Can you talk then about how you worked to develop that and change it?
Angelina Jolie: Well, the first thing is that the big transition he made was that he had a wife and child and in the end he was able to say, ‘I love you.’ This was the big arc. I said that wasn’t something that would be surprising for a woman. And I don’t think this woman would have a child. So the first thing was that we couldn’t have a child and we had to find a way to have this relationship with a husband or a wife that is very different. What would you not expect a woman to do, what would be unusual, what would suit a woman but be something that we could do? What do we do with that? That was the first thing and then once we decided what we were going to do it was how we were going to make that work in the movie.
Would your performance be different if it had been Edwin Salt or is it across the board in suspect regardless of gender?
Chiwetel Ejiofor: Yes. I think the script changed in a number of different ways as a result of the gender change. I don’t know if that was one of them I don’t think so. But I say there is so much we have in terms of gender expectation that I was so surprised. It was surprising to me and I came to the project fairly late well after these changes had been made and Edwin and Evelyn but I still was aware that certain things were being figured out because things were slightly about more expectation and I think it’s still quite fascinating. If a man is trying to save his wife there’s a different there’s a subtle difference in terms of the movie than the woman trying to save her husband. And trying to delineate what those difference are in fact it’s quite complicated buts it’s about our expectations are for the character. I think it’s very interesting the way it is now I think it pushes certain boundaries and I don’t know if there are many other films that have pushed that and it also shows that it works and you don’t feel like the husbands weak or you don’t feel you buy both characters and I think that’s a very important push.