In telling Du Jour magazine that she “absolutely” plans to quit acting, yet another top-tier actor has announced a departure from thespianism. Jolie explained, “I’ve never been comfortable as an actor; I’ve never loved being in front of the camera,” said Jolie. “I didn’t ever think I could direct, but I hope I’m able to have a career at it because I’m much happier.”
Comfort notwithstanding, Jolie has killed the game as an actor, winning an Oscar for her 1999 portrayal as a mental patient in Girl, Interrupted, commanding seven-figure salaries per picture and racking up tons of nominations for other gigs. Directing? Not so much. So far, only one drama she’s helmed—In the Land of Blood and Honey—has reached screens, and reviews have been decidedly … not so jolie (Variety slammed Angie’s “heavy-handed touch”).
So should her flock commence with the weeping and the tearing of the garments in a show of mourning? After all, there are pros and cons to an announcement like this.
Pro: We’ll get another woman director, which Hollywood sorely needs.
Con: We may be getting a not-very-good woman director, if reviews of Blood and Honey are any indication.
Pro: Jolie is a social activist–a United Nations special envoy on the topic of displaced people—so she’ll likely shine a spotlight on causes that desperately need attention.
Con: If she champions a cause during her off hours, it’s now less likely to get attention. We all know that actor Brad Pitt has a charity in New Orleans. Do you have any idea what pet causes director George Lucas has? Exactly.
Pro: Jolie seems to like working with unknown actors. Discovering new faces is always awesome.
Con: Her own amazing face—and come on, that face is a national treasure—will enjoy less of a spotlight. Not a good thing for lovers of things photogenic.
Pro: She’ll likely put her kids in her movies.
Con: She’ll likely put her kids in her movies.
But before we devote too much analysis to this topic, one other factor to consider: Jolie may be lying.
Agents and other power players in Hollywood will tell you that announcing a “retirement” is a classic move among talent, especially talent gunning for a higher paycheck or a different style of representation.
Chris Evans. Anthony Hopkins. Joaquin Phoenix. Sean Connery. Hayden Christensen. All are actors. All have said, at one point, that they were through with the profession.
And every single one of them came running back to the camera.