Even the cool mom has her moments. For Angelina Jolie that came after the mandatory trip to Bed, Bath &Beyond, after the sixth hug in the airport, and after the movie star took her 18-year-old son, Maddox, to college a few weeks ago. That’s when the drama got real.
“Did I cry?” Jolie asked. “Oh yes, I cried. But a funny thing happened at the airport. It was time to say goodbye and Maddox sat back down with me for a bit longer. I thought, ‘Oh, he still wants to be with me. That’s so sweet.’ ” Then she realized what really was happening, she said, eyes misting during a group interview at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, and later speaking privately with the Review-Journal. “My son looked at me and said, ‘Mom, are you okay?’ When Maddox gave me a really big hug at the airport, I knew he was okay. I also knew he was the kind of man who knew what I needed — and he gave it to me in such a loving way.”
Now that the 44-year-old has sent her boy off to a South Korean university Jolie can focus on the sequel to her biggest hit. In “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” she reprises her role as the vengeful creature in fairyland who must deal with adopted daughter Princess Aurora’s (Elle Fanning) wedding to a handsome prince, despite the evil plans of Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer).
“It’s really a story of how we form families and keep those bonds strong. It’s also about how, as parents, there comes a time to let go,” said Jolie, who is also mom to Zahara, 14, Pax, 15, Shiloh, 13, and twins, Knox and Vivienne, 11.
Review-Journal: What’s your idea of a great Sunday?
Angelina Jolie: Sunday is a great day to really be with your kids. It doesn’t matter what we do. I just try to listen to the kids instead of telling them or instructing them. Other than that, we just enjoy each other. All that matters is that they’re happy.
What was it like getting Maddox ready for college?
I spent that time with him thinking I was prepping him to go. Did he have the right shoes? New glasses? Things? You’re working so hard as a mother to prepare him and then all of a sudden you’re at the airport wondering if you did it all. What I realized was that the last week was really for me. It was about us spending time together getting him ready, which is so beautiful.
Was it fun to play Maleficent again?
I loved it. She’s wild, full on and a bit too much. I’ve been through different things in my life. I was so happy to feel strong again and have some fun with this role. I adore her.
As a mother of three adopted children, this movie must have struck a chord.
When Aurora and Maleficent are first brought together and become a family, they’re not expecting it. Maleficent was harmed in her life prior to this child. She had lost her ability to be soft. She couldn’t remember what it was to be loved. Then, the love of this child brought out something in (her) that completely transformed (her).
You’re told that you can’t be a “real” family because of XYZ.
People tell us that you can’t be family because you’re not the same. Maybe we don’t look the same. Maybe we’re not the same. I’m asked: “How can you be the mother of this group?” This pulls chords in me when I think of my own family. I think diversity in families makes us stronger.
How difficult is it to wear some of those costumes with the spiked feathers, claws and wings?
I did actually poke myself when the bones of the bird costume would flip up.
And the flying part?
I needed to look strong on the ground and then effortlessly float up into the air, which was done on rigs. The hard thing was I had to be careful not to lock horns with the other creatures. You’re 20 feet up doing a ballet dance in the air and trying not to get tangled with any other actor.
Are you excited to play Thena in Marvel’s upcoming “The Eternals”?
The nice thing about the MCU is it’s such a big world. This is understanding you’re a part of this great universe and greater project. You’re also so much a part of a team, which is a lovely feeling.
What’s the most important lesson you teach your children?
Be true to yourself. I tell my children, “No matter how people see you or say how you should be, don’t listen to them or you will suffocate.” And I tell them, “We’re not just here to exist. You have to know what you stand for … what you’d fight for … what you would even die for.” I believe if you live that way, then whatever pain and sacrifice comes along, you will embrace it.
What was the best lesson your mother taught you?
To be fearless. When I was younger, I would get very, very nervous. But I had a great mother who loved me for my flaws and my attempts. That was so beautiful — and all we can ask of each other.