Dateline NBC
NBC Universal
Ann Curry talks to Angelina Jolie in an exclusive interview conducted in a villa in France, while Jolie is on her Cannes press tour for  'A Mighty Heart.'
By
Dateline NBC
updated 5/24/2007 1:42:26 AM ET 2007-05-24T05:42:26
TRANSCRIPT

This interview aired Wednesday, May 23, 10 p.m. on Dateline NBC

She’s one of the world’s most famous women: a movie star with a mission, the tattooed tough girl turned goodwill ambassador.  She’s a superstar, and these days a supermom.

Angelina Jolie: I’m so excited I get to be their mom, you know?

Ann Curry, NBC News: But they’re all under the age of six, Angelina.  And I know what that sounds like—

Jolie: Oh, it’s chaos.  They're at a hotel.  They’re ruining a villa as we speak. (LAUGHTER) They are. I’m sure I’ll find markers on the wall.

Angelina and her partner Brad Pitt arrived at the Cannes Film Festival, along with their four children, for the opening of “A Mighty Heart,” the story of American journalist Daniel Pearl who was kidnapped in the early months after 9/11, then executed  by Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida.

Angelina plays Pearl’s widow, Mariane. Brad is a producer.

Curry: To play her was not easy.  To play her at this time of her life was not easy.

Jolie: No.  I’ve played real people before, but I never knew them.  You’d think that would be easier. I did. But the day before we started shooting, I had hardly slept and I was in a panic.

Earlier this week I sat down with Angelina in a villa in Cannes for a wide-ranging talk about her new movie—and the way that art and life can intersect. 

Curry: In the movie, Mariane is surrounded by paparazzi.  And it’s hard not to notice that this was something that you yourself have experienced and must know how to play how to deal with this kind of incredible attention.

Jolie: Well, it was very different because I’ve never gone through what she’s gone through, you know?  So as much as I know what a flashbulb is in a car, I don’t know what it’s like to have lost my husband and somebody do that to me.  So it’s very different.

We talk about her off-screen roles, including being a mother to an ever-expanding family. 

Curry: What’s the best part of being a mother of four?

Jolie: They are just my favorite people.  They are just so much fun.  And I get to watch who they’re becoming every day.

We also talked about loss. Angelina is grieving over the loss of her mother who died of cancer just last January.

Jolie: Dammit, you got me crying.(laughs)

Curry: I didn’t mean to make you cry.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.

Jolie: Yeah.

Curry: I’m sorry.

Jolie: No, no.  It’s all right.  It’s all right. You know, it’s a part of life.  So I’m at a strange place I suppose in my life. I think that what happens when you lose a parent, where you lose—you drop into a different kind of serious.  

We also talked to her— and her companion Brad Pitt— about their good work around the world. Together they have donated huge sums to those in need.

Brad Pitt: You can move the ball forward a little bit. And that is just getting your hands dirty.  Rolling up your sleeves a little bit and seeing where it takes you.

Curry (to Jolie): Recently, you and Brad gave a million dollars to an organization who wants to do something about AIDS orphans, like your daughter Sahara. And you’ve been lobbying the White House to approve giving $2.5 billion to this. Why is this America’s problem?

Jolie: It’s everybody’s problem.  It is not America’s problem.  I’m not somebody to say, “Well, America’s the wealthiest and a powerful nation and, therefore, has a responsibility to.”  I don’t think that’s true.  I don’t think that’s the reason why.  I think that shouldn’t be our motivating, “You should because you have.”

Curry: What would be the reason?

Jolie: Because it’s the right thing to do.   

Daniel Pearl’s abduction and beheading was an act of stunning brutality.  Pearl was the bureau chief of south Asia for the Wall Street Journal. In the early months after 9/11,  he was in Pakistan with his pregnant wife Mariane,  researching a story on Islamic extremists linked to al-Qaida. One night he went to meet a source and didn’t return.

Pearl’s disappearance made headlines around the world.  His newspaper learned he was being held by a group that claimed he was a CIA agent, targeted because he was Jewish. His wife Mariane went on television to appeal for his safe return.

Four weeks after Pearl was kidnapped, a grisly videotape surfaced.  And it left no doubt how he died.

Daniel Pearl was the first prominent Western journalist to die covering the war on terror. Brad Pitt, watching the story unfold on television, was deeply moved.

Brad Pitt: I myself remember vividly sitting at the kitchen table and being riveted by this journalist who had been taken. I don’t know if it’s because of his spirit of what was there behind it at that time.  But the interview of his wife, of course, Mariane.  Because she came out with such strength.

So when Mariane wrote a memoir of the experience, Brad optioned it.  That was long before he and Angelina were an item.

But oddly enough, about the same time, Mariane was reaching out to Angelina, at that point a single mom like herself. 

Angelina Jolie: All kind of came at the same time.  We all had a play date like three years before and we kind of kept sending word back and forth.  But we both hated phones.  And we both take a really long time to respond to the other.  And we never got in the same place at the same time.

Curry: But there’s something about the two of you that sort of felt like you intersected.

Jolie: Yes.

They became friends. After Angelina and Brad became a couple, they decided to move ahead with the project. The couple recruited director Michael Winterbottom, known for his documentary style.  He also had a connection to the story.

Michael Winterbottom, director: In fact I was in Pakistan when the news of his death came out.  So being there, again, you kind of more aware of the story—felt more of a connection to the story.

For Angelina, playing the role of Mariane was complicated.

Jolie: How do you play [it]? It’s like somebody said to you, “You know, your great girlfriend has gone through the most horrible thing in her life.  Why don’t you stand up and show us what she went through and how it felt?” You can’t.  You know?  And it was hard.  It was really hard.  But she was great and she did just kind of disappear and say, “Just do it it how you feel.”

Curry: Did she kind of know that, “Hey, if I hang around, it’s gonna be hard”—

Jolie: I think she did...but I also think she genuinely doesn’t care about film.

Curry: No, she trusted you.

Jolie: I think she did trust me.

Winterbottom put the actors together in a house in India  for hours at a time,  and started the cameras.

Winterbottom: We kind of hope that by filming in that house over five weeks, that gradually the actors would fall into relationships that were similar in a sense to the relationships the real characters had fallen into.

Angelina found herself improvising like she had never done before.

Jolie: Yeah.  When I was emotional towards the end, he’d say, “If you don’t want me to follow you in, close the door.  But if it’s okay, just leave the door [open].” 

Curry: Because it got too heavy.

Jolie: It got real heavy.  Or it just—something would happen where it would just be like, “Yeah, I”—yeah, something.  You just couldn’t handle certain elements of it. But it was the only way we could close doors on Michael, but we couldn’t get out of the house.

Actor Dan Futterman played Daniel Pearl and was working with Angelina for the first time.

Dan Futterman, co-actor: She has that touch that some actors have that. You know how much preparation has gone into it. But in the work, it seems absolutely like the easiest thing in the world.  She’s doing this accent that’s not her own.  She was dressed in a way that’s not her, and a prosthetic belly.  And she’s improvising.  And it is the easiest—it seems, in working with her, it’s the easiest thing in the world.

And some people have that, and many actors, like myself, don’t.  But I admire it enormously. There’s this feeling of being in the scene with her and also a slight bit of me being out of it, thinking, “You are so very good.” 

The movie is a love story.

Futterman: I made an effort to sort of capture, as much as possible, with Angie, the humanity, the relationship, the ridiculous silly moments—in addition to the deeper connections that they had.

Curry: It mattered a lot that you were able to capture this intense relationship, this love that Mariane and Danny had for each other.

Futterman: It mattered a lot to me.  I know it mattered to Angie, and it certainly mattered to Mariane.  And you know, to Michael, and there’s very little time to do it.  And so, you know, we shot a great deal of material, and Michael chose the little moments that would be—that would speak most to that.

Curry: You do feel her love for him.

Jolie: Oh, I hope so.

Curry: You worked really hard at this to create that, because that was important to you.

Jolie: Yes. We’d read things about them, we’d see things about them, we’d talk to people about them.  We almost said that the problem of that, they’re just perfect. (LAUGHTER) To just learn about that as well, as somebody in a relationship… just to think, “Wow, this is amazing.”  They have something that so many of us would love to have had.

The movie is also a drama—Mariane, Pearl’s colleagues, Pakistani investigators and American diplomats join forces, devoting days and nights to finding him alive. That was another reason Brad was drawn to the story of Pearl's abduction. Brad believes the international search team was itself a kind of victory over the terrorists.

Pitt: These guys tried to take out and destroy this man. It actually backfired in in a very interesting way.  It actually brought people together.  And the people in the house who were in search of Danny were Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Jewish. And it actually became this—a catalyst to bring people together. 

Jolie: There is also this amazing friendship with a Pakistani Muslim man who is a captain.  And he cares so much, so dedicated, and so broken hearted that this would happen. He is of that faith, and it’s that faith that makes him want to bring somebody’s husband and father home.

Curry: So you’re saying it’s more complicated.  This movie understands that this is not Muslims against Christians.  It’s not about that.  It’s the complications are that there are similarities no matter what faith, what country you’re from.

Jolie: And there’s something beautiful in a film that you would think is about this difference of faith is actually very much focused on the people from Buddhism to Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, all in the same house, becoming great friends and becoming each other’s greatest support.

During the filming the actors also drew closer together inside the house.  And then, for Angelina, the biggest test of all—to convey the real anguish of the night when Mariane discovered her husband was never coming home.

Curry: She goes into her room, your character goes into her room, and this just primal scream comes.  I mean, hard.  Hard. Hard.  Real.  Real scream of just agony over the loss of her husband. This must have been a very difficult scene to do.  Very difficult.

Jolie: It was. On that night, there was no plans for how to respond to that.  I had no thought in my head of how I was gonna respond to that ‘cause I couldn’t imagine it.  But we all just I think allowed ourselves to feel and try to let that come through. And everybody had tears in their eyes.  And it was not for the camera.  It was not in any kind of acting moment.  It was the thought that we all shared on that night of, “My god, how horrible this must have truly been.”  I can never understand.  I tried to recreate and I tried to act, but I can never understand what a woman goes through when that that happens, and I have such sympathy for them.

Curry: To see him in your child and not have him—

Jolie: --yet the probably the thing that helped her carry on because thank God she was pregnant.  Thank God she had that piece and has that piece of Danny every single day of her life now.

Curry: And he lives on.

Jolie: Yeah.  So thank God for that.  But at the same time, of course, what a great loss.

Curry: This movie then is somewhat personal.  It’s not just another movie.

Jolie: Oh yeah. And I think for everybody.  And I think most people, people around the world, remember such brutality… and yet such strength in her.  And they have a beautiful little boy now who’s the perfect combination of the two of them.  And it’s this shining example of, and is everything they represent and believe in. And he’s her victory.

Jolie: I’d gotten to know their son. And the thought that he would see this one day and that it was my responsibility to not just show the world but also show him how much his mother loved his father and how much they loved each other and how they handled this time—was something that haunted me through the whole thing and haunted, I think, everybody involved.

Given her status as one of the most sought-after stars in Hollywood, shooting a movie with Angelina is a complicated undertaking. Add Brad to the equation and the media attention can go out of control.

In India where most of “A Mighty Heart” was filmed, the paparazzi turned one shooting location into something that looked like a mob scene.

Director Michael Winterbottom had never witnessed a more ferocious media frenzy.

Michael Winterbottom, director: It just looks crazy and unbearable.  And they seem incredibly patient and calm about it. They’ve obviously had to put up with for years.  And so, it’s very strange.

Producer Andrew Eaton: To work with as big a star as Angelina, and to maintain the integrity of the whole thing.  You know, and be chased by the paparazzi and do all the—everything that goes with that.  But still protect the core… I don’t know how these guys cope with it on a day-to-day basis. Brad says “welcome to my world,” and it’s just crazy and insane.

Ann Curry, NBC News: One of your co-stars says so many mean things were being written about you while you were filming the scenes in India that he stopped reading the paper because it was going to affect his ability to deal with your character on screen.  How do you handle this?

Angelina Jolie:  I’ve managed to just focus on other things.  I mean, if anything, I get most upset because I wanna read a good paper first thing in the morning.  And if I see a lie about myself flash across the front of the  cover, I don’t think much of the rest of the newspaper.

Angelina says she doesn’t get distracted by the lies because she’s stopped reading publications that print them.

Curry: Oh, so if I asked you, for example, right now what’s something that’s untrue that you would like to say right now is not true, you wouldn’t know what was untrue that was written about you?

Jolie: No.

Curry: Nothing?

Jolie: No.  I mean, I can assume.  You know, I know there’s a cycle of certain things that they keep rewriting or whatever, but I can assume things [have been] made up.  But no, I haven’t a clue. And why would I, you know?  There’s nothing I have to hide or defend. I’m gonna live my life.  And there are times when people wanna try to attack me and I don’t know why, but they will.  And that’s okay.

Curry: It’s ok?

Jolie: Well, there are other things I’m more concerned about.

In “A Mighty Heart,” Angelina’s character Mariane was also hounded by the media as she desperately waited for a sign that her husband was alive.

Jolie: I just felt that much more sad for somebody who is not used to it and would have to go through something so painful and then have to deal with that as well. 

So I can only imagine, but I really wouldn’t compare us because that is such a difficult situation—

Curry: Yeah, but you did have to play a woman under stress, being—

Jolie: I played it.  But I’m just saying  I just haven’t gone through what she’s been through.  And so I just think being stopped by paparazzi is one thing.  Having cameras in your face when your husband is kidnapped or he has lost his life is something that is totally different and can never be compared.

Curry: It’s interesting to have you be in a movie that honors journalists for bravery, makes them heroic in some ways, given the other side of the kind of paparazzi world that surround you...

Jolie: I think you see both sides in the film.  And I do think there is a line, you know?  I think I’ve gotten upset with certain journalism or focused on silliness and tabloids more for just that there’s a focus on something as silly when there are so many other important things to be talking about. More than just, “Oh, that’s a personal attack against me.” That’s not really what upsets me.  What really upsets me is what that’s doing. What that cycle is, how many things are distracting from other really important things. 

I love great journalism.  I appreciate it.  I love a good, you know, I love good news stories.  I love great books.  I love great articles.  I appreciate them so much, and they’ve been part of my education as as a woman.

Angelina says the work of Mariane and Daniel pearl is an example of the ideal that journalism can aspire to. 

Jolie: They were just journalists who believed in dialogue, who believed in truth, who believed in working really hard and believed that the world was their home, who worked together, traveled together, shared information together, supported each other.

Brad echoes Angelina’s conviction. He says it’s one of the main reasons he decided to put his money behind the project.

Pitt: I believe in the power of journalism.  I mean, democracy doesn’t work unless the public’s informed.  And to make informed decisions, you have to have an understanding of the dynamics of a situation. And journalism at its best as Danny and Mariane were after, does bridge gaps and creates dialogue.

Jolie: There’s a great, obviously really, really wonderful and important journalists out there.  And it is a very important thing to be and do, if not the most important ‘cause how you interpret a story can then make the difference. So it would be a very powerful thing to be.  And when misused, it’s very sad.

Just months after portraying a woman who lost someone she loved, Angelina experienced loss herself. Her mother Marcheline Bertrand died in January after a 7-year battle with cancer.

She’s largely kept her sadness away from the public eye, but it’s clear Angelina is still mourning her mother’s death. She tries to deflect a heavy heart by talking about “A Mighty Heart.”

Jolie: It’s a part of life and then you talk about a film like this.  When I lost my mom, it’s a natural thing for a child to lose a parent.  I lost my mom too young but it happened. And I’m happy she’s out of pain, ‘cause I love her and she’s my friend. Mariane lost her husband in a way that is not natural and is unfair.  And that is—that in comparison, you know, that the thought of that I think, well, there’s really nothing to say about it.  It’s just something to remember.

She remembers, too, what made her the woman she’s become.

Curry: My sense is that you got this thing from somebody, from somewhere (and I’m thinking it might be your mother now), this incredible sense of wanting to do good to be useful.. to something that’s right.  My sense from reading about your mother is that that was her.

Jolie: She was.

Curry: Did she teach you this?

Jolie: Yeah.

Curry: Where did you get this?

Jolie: If I am even a sliver of the woman my mother was, you know, she was an extraordinary—just so full of kindness and love.  And I’m—would just—she was one of those women who would spend weeks to plan the right birthday party.  And to write or you know, four drafts to get the right birthday card ready that said all those things that were emotional and you could say them and that meant.

She lived her life to be a mom. Was just kind.  And really taught me in her passing, the strength of that. That is the most important thing to be.

Curry: It’s interesting.  When you lose your mother, you don’t have anything to push up against anymore, anyone to rebel against.  I know with my mother I was always rebelling against her.  When she finally left, it was, “Oh, okay...”

Jolie: I never rebelled against my mom...

Curry: And all of a sudden—well, for me it was all of a sudden I started to listen to the things that she told me to do that I was always saying, “No, I’m not gonna do it.”  Then all of a sudden when she left I was like, “Okay.”

Jolie: Yeah. I never save things and I never take pictures.  And that person, I wanna live in the moment.  I don’t wanna be focusing on the past ‘cause my mom was very focused—“Remember when you were four and you did this or we lived there?”  And I’m like, “Gotta live in the future.  Gotta live in the future.” 

And then the amount of time she’d take to make a birthday party or an Easter basket. It used to drive me crazy.  I used to think “How can you do that? It’s a basket, you know?” 

This Easter I spent so much time. (LAUGHTER) Like make the biggest baskets.  I obsessed on it… out of just somehow an understanding of there is nothing more important right now going on in my life than this Easter basket.

Curry: And so when your children saw them they lit up?

Jolie: Yeah...forever.  They played with us all morning.  They laughed.  We had a great time making them together.  It was important.  It was a lovely—it was great, you know?  Everything else stopped to do that.  And that’s my mom.

When she arrives for our interview, it is 3 p.m. but Angelina has already had a full day.  Up early this morning, she says she spent time with her children before embarking on a whirlwind press tour around Cannes.  Wherever she goes, the flash-bulbs follow, shadowing her every step.  But if Angelina is overwhelmed, she doesn’t show it. 

Ann Curry: I think most people have a hard time understanding how you can possibly deal with this spotlight you’re under.  I mean, just to do this interview I’m told somebody was trying to climb the fence just to be involved in doing this interview, people wanted to interview me.

I don’t understand this crazy world you’re in.  I only dip into it for a few moments and dip out.  And so how do you even handle this?  It’s crazy, Angelina.  This is—this is—

Jolie:  You’re really making me feel uncomfortable...cause I really felt it was fine.

Curry:  No, no.  I’m sorry.  I’m—

Jolie:  I didn’t even know about a person getting—

Curry:  There’s so much intensity involving you.  And I don’t understand it.

Jolie: I take my kids to school.  And if I go to work, I go to work and they visit me on set.  I come home.  I have dinner with my family.  I have breakfast with my family.  I have a very solid, very warm—home. 

Over the last five years Angelina has adopted three children: Maddox from Cambodia, daughter Zahara from Ethiopia and just this year, Pax from Vietnam. Shiloh, her biological child with Brad Pitt arrived last May. Angelina says her family life is “normal.” 

Jolie:  I’m very fortunate.

Curry: Yeah, but can I say, they’re saying in the paper that you’re breaking up with Brad.  They’re saying in the paper that, you know, you’re not spending enough time with your kids.  I mean, there’s all this stuff in the paper that if it was about me, I mean, maybe I don’t have as thick a skin as you do.  But I would be upset.  I’d be angry.  I’d be furious.

Jolie:  I’m not.

Curry: (LAUGHTER) Why aren’t you?

Jolie:  Because my kids are happy and healthy and we have a very solid family.  And I am fortunate enough to have a job and go to work and we get to travel and—and do a lot of great things in the world and meet amazing people.  And I have a very, very—I’m just very fortunate in my life. 

At the end of the day I’m gonna be dead one day, and what people say about me is going what I accomplished and what I did in my life and how my children are. And I don’t think it’s gonna be what was printed in the tabloids this year.

Curry: But you know what?  I think of you as being someone who cares about her reputation. I know I care about my reputation.  I want people to think well of me.

Jolie:  Well, I do a bit.  But I know that people who I interact with across the world and are the people I interact with when I do the different work I do in the field.  I know the people who I take seriously and I work with in my life.  And—and those people I’m able to work with and they know the truth, and they don’t seem to be confused.  And we move on and I get my things done. 

I’ve never lived my life in the opinion of others.  I believe I’m a good person.  I believe I’m a good mom.  But that’s for my kids to decide, not for the world. 

One thing’s for sure: There’ll be plenty of voices when the votes are ready to be tallied.

Curry: Your family is big.

Jolie:  It is big.  Yeah. (LAUGHTER)

Curry: I saw you with two beautiful children, pregnant.  And now you have four.  And I’m the oldest of five.  I know… Big family.  A lot of noise.  A lot of fun.  Screaming.  Fights?

Jolie: Uh-huh.

Curry:  A lot of love.

Jolie:  Yeah. Great

Curry: What’s the best part of being a mother of four?

Jolie:  It’s just—you know, they are just my favorite people.  They are just so much fun.  And I get to watch who they’re becoming every day and I’m so excited I get to be their mom, you know?

Curry:  But they’re all under the age of six, Angelina.  And I know what that sounds like—

Jolie:  --chaos.  Yeah.  They’re at a hotel.  They’re ruining a villa as we speak. (LAUGHTER) They are.  They are.  I’m sure I’ll find markers on the walls—

And when it’s time to clean up the mess, Angelina has at least one helping hand.

Curry: People don’t realize how much children affect a relationship

Jolie: Oh yeah

Curry: They do

Jolie: They do. But we’re both very fortunate that we can make decisions about our career.  We can make decisions to take off big chunks of time.  And we, you know, we take turns working.  So one of us is always at home.  So we’re always together, which is which is a luxury. 

Angelina realized just how important it is to have a partner when Mariane Pearl came to visit her in Namibia to discuss making “A Mighty Heart.” She wondered how Mariane could possibly have endured her pregnancy, alone and afraid that the father of her child was dead.

Jolie: We were in Namibia and I was six months pregnant. I couldn’t help but suddenly look over at this woman and think, "God, she is where I’m at now. But I have this man with me who’s helping me through this and loves me."

And it’s a joyous moment.  And we’re about to also have a baby, and we’re gonna look at this baby together across the room at each other.  And it’s all those things that make that so much more.

Whether visiting schoolchildren in Africa or seeing the wreckage in New Orleans left behind by Hurricane Katrina,  Angelina and Brad have seen firsthand a world of suffering.  And they say that their travels have intensified their commitment to encourage change, to break down global barriers, believing that there is more that unites us as  people, than divides us.

Brad Pitt: We want the best for our families.  We want to live a dignified life.  We want our children to be happy and have opportunities, and oppression and tyranny does not belong in that for any of us.  And you know, if you look at all our emotions, they’re all the same right across the board.  And you know, I’m stating the obvious.  But a reminder doesn’t hurt, does it?

To some they may still be a self-indulgent movie-star couple. To  others they’re the real deal.   But there is no doubt that Angelina and Brad take their commitment all the way to the  bank.

Curry: This is incredible.  Three million dollars just this year to AIDS, orphans, to Darfur.  it’s remarkable.  Where is this leading? 

Pitt: It’s just not enough anymore that it’s entertainment and enjoyment.  For me personally I’m saying, in my life, you can move the ball forward a little bit. And that is just getting your hands dirty, rolling up your sleeves a little bit and seeing where it takes you.

And that’s what this is about.  Where is it going to go?  The interesting thing is—is how it evolves for me individually for myself and watching the same with Angie.  But where’s it gonna go?  I’m not gonna stop.

It is hard to imagine Angelina stopping anytime soon. This year she  made Time magazine’s list of the "World’s most influential people" and not in the entertainment category...but among philanthropists like Bill Gates and David Rockefeller.   And now she is in line to become a member of the prestigious Council on Foreign Relations, an independent foreign policy think tank that counts Madeline Albright, Colin Powell, and Tom Brokaw among its distinguished associates.

Jolie: It is the one thing I have wanted.

Curry:  Why?

Jolie:  Because I want to better understand foreign policy.  And I wanna better understand the world I live in, and I wanna be able to learn how to be more effective.  And I think my heart has been in it for a long time but I don’t think I’ve had the understanding and the mind to accomplish what needs to be done to make the big sweeping changes. I wanna learn and I wanna listen.    

She believes that America should do more to address the AIDS crisis in Africa,  especially for children orphaned by it.   She’s lobbied Congress to approve 2.5 billion dollars for the cause.

Curry: You said, "The scale of the problems seems to give many an excuse for inaction.  In many ways, it is better to think of these children one by one, each deserving of our care and our attention, each being of equal value, and each being a test of whether justice or injustice will prevail." Why is this—because some will ask—America’s problem?

Jolie:  It’s everybody’s problem.  It’s not America’s problem. I’m not somebody to say, “Well, America’s the wealthiest and a powerful nation and, therefore, has a responsibility to.”  I don’t think that’s true.  I don’t think that’s the reason why. 

Curry: Well, what would be the reason?

Jolie: Because it’s the right thing to do.  Because it should make us feel that it’s what’s American.  Because it’s what we would want somebody to do for us if we were in that situation. 

Her campaign for public awareness on the plight of children around the world has led her to add another credit to her list of accomplishments.   In “A Place in Time,” a documentary she funded and directed, she’s enlisted many of her celebrity friends like Ryan Gosling and Ann Hathaway to travel around the globe to visit children in need and turn on their cameras for three minutes at the same time in 26 countries.

You don’t have to look hard to notice the unlimited potential Angelina sees in the faces, and hears in the voices, of those kids.

That is what Angelina Jolie says motivates her these days --  the chance to ease suffering in the world, not her movie star celebrity. 

Curry: You know, my impression is that you don’t think about that and you’re so not in that area because you’re so focused on living an authentic life, living a useful life.

Jolie: Yeah. Yeah.

Curry:  And so this effort which has been constant in your life, ever since I’ve met you, constant in you, where has it led you?

Jolie: This has been a heavy year in losing my mom and having a fourth child.  I suppose I’m very aware of time and of memories and of enjoying life... not just doing the right thing and being a useful person, which I certainly wanna be and believe that I am.

But I’m holding onto my family really tight at this moment because of that.  And trying to as good a woman as I can be in my life.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive. Reprints

Video: Pearl's story touched Jolie, Pitt

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