Early life and family
Born in Los Angeles, California, Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand. She is the sister of actor James Haven, niece of singer-songwriter Chip Taylor, and goddaughter of actors Jacqueline Bisset and Maximilian Schell. On her father's side, Jolie is of German and Slovak descent, and on her mother's side, she is of French Canadian, Dutch, and German ancestry. She has also claimed to be part Iroquois through her mother, although Voight has said that Bertrand was "not seriously Iroquois."
After her parents' separation in 1976, Jolie and her brother went to live with their mother, who abandoned her acting ambitions to focus on raising her children. As a child, Jolie regularly saw movies with her mother and later explained that this had inspired her interest in acting; she had not been influenced by her father. When she was six years old, her mother and stepfather, filmmaker Bill Day, moved the family to Palisades, New York; they returned to Los Angeles five years later. She decided she wanted to act and enrolled at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, where she trained for two years and appeared in several stage productions.
At the age of 14, Jolie dropped out of her acting classes and aspired to become a funeral director. She began working as a fashion model, modeling mainly in Los Angeles, New York, and London. During this period, she wore black clothing, experimented with knife play, and went out moshing with her live-in boyfriend. Two years later, after the relationship had ended, she rented an apartment above a garage a few blocks from her mother's home. She returned to theater studies and graduated from high school a year early, though in recent times she has referred to this period with the observation, "I am still at heart—and always will be—just a punk kid with tattoos."
Jolie suffered episodes of suicidal depression throughout her teens and early twenties. She felt isolated at Beverly Hills High School among the children of some of the area's affluent families, as her mother survived on a more modest income, and she was teased by other students, who targeted her for being extremely thin and for wearing glasses and braces. She found it difficult to emotionally connect with other people, and as a result she started to self-harm; later commenting, "I collected knives and always had certain things around. For some reason, the ritual of having cut myself and feeling the pain, maybe feeling alive, feeling some kind of release, it was somehow therapeutic to me." She also began experimenting with drugs; by the age of 20, she had tried "just about every drug possible," including heroin.
Jolie has had a difficult relationship with her father. Due to Voight's marital infidelity and the resulting breakup of her parents' marriage, she was estranged from her father for many years. They reconciled and he appeared with her in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), but their relationship again deteriorated. In July 2002, Jolie—who had long used her middle name as a stage name to establish her own identity as an actress—filed a request to legally drop Voight as her surname, which was granted on September 12, 2002. In August of that year, Voight claimed that his daughter had "serious mental problems" on Access Hollywood. In response, Jolie released a statement in which she indicated that she no longer wished to pursue a relationship with her father. She stated that she did not want to publicize her reasons for their estrangement, but because she had adopted her son Maddox, she did not think it was healthy for her to associate with Voight. In 2009, Jolie again reconciled with her father after a seven-year estrangement.International success: 2001–present
Although highly regarded for her acting abilities, Jolie's films to date had often not appealed to a wide audience, but Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) made her an international superstar. An adaptation of the popular Tomb Raider videogame, Jolie was required to learn a British accent and undergo extensive martial arts training to play the title role of Lara Croft. She was generally praised for her physical performance, but the movie generated mostly negative reviews. Slant commented, "Angelina Jolie was born to play Lara Croft but [director] Simon West makes her journey into a game of Frogger." The movie was an international success nonetheless, earning $275 million worldwide, and launched her global reputation as a female action star.
Jolie then starred opposite Antonio Banderas as his mail-order bride in Original Sin (2001), a thriller based on the novel Waltz into Darkness by Cornell Woolrich. The film was a major critical failure, with The New York Times noting, "The story plunges more precipitously than Ms. Jolie's neckline." In 2002, she starred in Life or Something Like It as an ambitious television reporter who is told that she will die in a week. The film was poorly received by critics, though Jolie's performance received positive reviews. CNN's Paul Clinton wrote, "Jolie is excellent in her role. Despite some of the ludicrous plot points in the middle of the film, this Academy Award-winning actress is exceedingly believable in her journey towards self-discovery and the true meaning of fulfilling life."
Jolie reprised her role as Lara Croft in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), which established her among Hollywood's highest-paid actresses. The sequel, while not as lucrative as the original, earned $156 million at the international box office. She appeared in the music video for Korn's "Did My Time", which was used to promote the film. That same year, she starred in Beyond Borders as a socialite who joins aid workers in Africa and Asia. The film reflected Jolie's real-life interest in promoting humanitarian relief, but it was critically and financially unsuccessful. The Los Angeles Times wrote, "Jolie, as she did in her Oscar-winning role in Girl, Interrupted, can bring electricity and believability to roles that have a reality she can understand. She can also, witness the Lara Croft films, do acknowledged cartoons. But the limbo of a hybrid character, a badly written cardboard person in a fly-infested, blood-and-guts world, completely defeats her."
In 2004, Jolie starred alongside Ethan Hawke in the thriller Taking Lives. She portrayed an FBI profiler summoned to help Montreal law enforcement hunt down a serial killer. The movie received mixed reviews and The Hollywood Reporter concluded, "Angelina Jolie plays a role that definitely feels like something she has already done, but she does add an unmistakable dash of excitement and glamour." She also provided the voice of the angelfish Lola in the DreamWorks animated movie Shark Tale (2004), and had a brief appearance in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004), a science fiction adventure film shot entirely with actors in front of a bluescreen. That same year, Jolie played Olympias in Alexander, about the life of Alexander the Great. The film failed domestically, which director Oliver Stone attributed to disapproval of the depiction of Alexander's bisexuality, but it succeeded internationally, with revenue of $139 million outside the United States.
Jolie then starred opposite Brad Pitt in the 2005 action-comedy Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which tells the story of a bored married couple, John and Jane Smith, who find out that they are both secret assassins. The film received mixed reviews, but was generally lauded for the chemistry between the two leads. The Star Tribune noted, "While the story feels haphazard, the movie gets by on gregarious charm, galloping energy and the stars' thermonuclear screen chemistry." The movie earned $478 million worldwide, making it one of the biggest hits of 2005.
Jolie next appeared in Robert De Niro's The Good Shepherd (2006), a film about the early history of the CIA, as seen through the eyes of Edward Wilson, an officer based on James Jesus Angleton and played by Matt Damon. Jolie played the supporting role of Margaret "Clover" Russell, Wilson's neglected wife. According to the Chicago Tribune, "Jolie ages convincingly throughout, and is blithely unconcerned with how her brittle character is coming off in terms of audience sympathy."
In 2007, Jolie made her directorial debut with the documentary A Place in Time, which captures daily life in 27 locations around the world during a single week. The film was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival and was intended for distribution to high schools through the National Education Association. Jolie then starred as Mariane Pearl in the documentary-style drama A Mighty Heart (2007). Based on Pearl's memoir of the same name, the film is about the kidnapping and murder of her husband, The Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in Pakistan. The film was filmed in Pune, India, and had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter described Jolie's performance as "well-measured and moving," played "with respect and a firm grasp on a difficult accent." Jolie was nominated for a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. She also played Grendel's mother in the animated epic Beowulf (2007), which was created through the motion capture technique
Jolie co-starred alongside James McAvoy and Morgan Freeman in the 2008 action movie Wanted, an adaptation of a graphic novel by Mark Millar. The film received predominately favorable reviews and proved an international success, earning $342 million worldwide. She also provided the voice of Master Tigress in the DreamWorks animated movie Kung Fu Panda (2008). With revenue of $632 million internationally, it became her highest grossing film to date. That same year, Jolie took on the lead role in Clint Eastwood's drama Changeling (2008), which had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Based in part on the Wineville Chicken Coop Murders, the film stars Jolie as Christine Collins, who is reunited with her kidnapped son in 1928 Los Angeles—only to realize the boy is an impostor. The Chicago Tribune noted, "Jolie really shines in the calm before the storm, the scenes [...] when one patronizing male authority figure after another belittles her at their peril." Jolie received a nomination for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, and a BAFTA Award.
Jolie next starred in the 2010 thriller Salt, her first film in two years. She starred alongside Liev Schreiber as CIA agent Evelyn Salt, who goes on the run after she is accused of being a KGB sleeper agent. Originally written as male, the character Salt underwent a gender change after a Colombia Pictures executive suggested Jolie for the role to director Phillip Noyce. The film was an international success with revenue of $294 million. It received mixed to positive reviews, with Jolie's performance earning praise; Empire remarked, "When it comes to selling incredible, crazy, death-defying antics, Jolie has few peers in the action business." She also co-starred with Johnny Depp in The Tourist (2010), which was a major critical failure. Rolling Stone wrote, "Depp and Jolie hit career lows, producing the chemistry of high-fashion zombies." After a slow start at the domestic box office, the film went on to gross $278 million worldwide. Jolie received a controversial Golden Globe nomination, which was speculated to have been awarded merely to ensure her high-profile presence at the awards ceremony.
In 2011, Jolie reprised her voice role as Master Tigress in the animated DreamWorks sequel Kung Fu Panda 2. It became her second-highest grossing film to date, earning in excess of $500 million at the international box office. She will also make her directorial feature debut with In the Land of Blood and Honey (2011), a love story set during the Bosnian War. The film was shot in October 2010 using local actors and is scheduled for release in December.