Angelina Jolie: On Those Who Wish Her Dead

Those who Wish me Dead
(CREDIT: D Free)

We have not seen Oscar winner Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted, Tomb Raider, Maleficent) in a film since 2019’s Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. Now the superstar can be seen putting out fires and fighting off ruthless thugs in New Line Cinema’s tense thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead, written and directed by Oscar nominee Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water, Wind River).

Jolie stars as Hannah, a smokejumper still reeling from the loss of three lives she failed to save from a fire. She takes a sort of comfort in the pain she inflicts on herself, whether it’s a showy stunt that knocks her on her ass or the self-imposed solitary confinement of her watchtower high above the Montana wilderness.

However, when Connor arrives in her remote territory—a skittish young boy who appears bloodied and traumatized—they must set out together to cross the miles of thick forest.

Braving deadly lightning storms that threaten even Hannah’s well-honed survival skills, they are unaware of the real dangers they face: two relentless killers hunting Connor from one direction, and a massive fiery blaze coming straight for them, quickly consuming everything in their path. Caught dead center between two evils, can Hannah keep them alive long enough to save Connor and ultimately set herself free?

When Jolie, read Sheridan’s screenplay, she says it was the combination of these intriguing components infused in the writing that drew her to the role of troubled smokejumper Hannah. “This is a thriller with fascinating characters embarking on a dangerous adventure across unusual terrain, with the added unique situation of placing them inside a massive wildfire.”

Angelina, what drew you to the project?

I’m drawn to characters that are imperfect and finding their way through because I am and so many people are, I hope are watching the film and identify. I found her also to be quite funny. I found somebody that was just so often inappropriate and not very good with children and a little reckless and strange.


those who wish me dead
ANGELINA JOLIE as Hannah in New Line Cinema’s thriller “THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

So I like that. And I wanted to work with Taylor. I like the way he’s been making his films. I like his characters. And I like how he sees this country and the people in it with respect and understanding is very nice.

Can you touch a little bit on Hannah’s isolation in the tower and her trauma?

I think the psych evaluation board would say she failed her psychological examination and has a level of trauma that is making her not able to be on the front line doing her job at this time.

those who wish me dead
ANGELINA JOLIE as Hannah in New Line Cinema’s thriller “THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

So, she’s been put to a fire tower while she stabilizes to see if she can overcome what’s going on with her. Something very bad happened and she feels responsible. And I think it’s funny to try to explain someone’s trauma. You don’t even know we all carry it. We don’t even know how to explain it or what it is. She’s not able to balance it and live with it.

Let’s talk about Hannah’s unexpected meeting

those who wish me dead
(L-r) FINN LITTLE as Connor and ANGELINA JOLIE as Hannah in New Line Cinema’s thriller “THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

So, she (Hannah) is on her own and she’s in quite a dark place, and she comes across a boy who’s covered in blood. He says it’s not his own and he’s running from something someone we don’t know. So, she has to now figure out how to take care of this boy when she can’t even take care of herself and figure out how bad the threat is. And then there becomes multiple threats between those trying to kill him and then the fire itself.

So, how how do you deal with that?

Finn Little has a lot of talent. What was it like working with him?

Finn is just amazing. He’s going to be in this business doing a lot of good things for a long time. You see that talent, you know the person and you think this is a thoughtful, interesting, solid person. And he has a great deal of talent. He’s going to be around a long time telling stories. He’s funny and he’s still got that magic of youth while being extremely capable and professional.

He’s a great partner. We were joking. We were always this like an action duo.

The Forest set was intense.

To make it real, as Taylor does, instead of relying on the visual effects, he wanted to make sure we could really have the fire around us burn down the forest. So, they built this forest, brought in these trees, built a built to the river we were in and.

those who wish me dead
ANGELINA JOLIE on the set of New Line Cinema’s thriller “THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

That was an amazing feat that they did. They made it look very natural. You forgot where you were because we were really in the middle of desert space and we would really light these trees on fire. Sometimes it was very controlled and contained and very professional.

But of course, the interesting thing about working with fire is you can’t completely control it. So, we would have rules that if it suddenly jumped or if it got too hot or if it grew too much, you would turn and just keep walking in the other direction or you somehow call it.

And it did sometimes do that. So we always thought we were in charge of things, but we really weren’t. It was us versus the fire for most of the film.


those who wish me dead
(L-r) FINN LITTLE as Connor and ANGELINA JOLIE as Hannah in New Line Cinema’s thriller “THOSE WHO WISH ME DEAD,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Those Who Wish Me Dead also stars Nicholas Hoult (the X-Men films), Finn Little (Reckoning), Aidan Gillen (Game of Thrones, Peaky Blinders), Medina Senghore (Happy!), Tyler Perry (Vice, Gone Girl), Jake Weber (Midway, Homeland), and Jon Bernthal (Ford v Ferrari, Wind River). The film is currently in theaters and streaming on HBO Max.

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