Australian director Phillip Noyce of The Bone Collector fame loves telling spy stories. And in Angelina Jolie, he says, he has "the perfect spy" for his latest film Salt because she is so attractive.
"They say that as humans we trust people who are attractive more than people who are not attractive. So Angelina makes the perfect spy because she is completely a goddess," Noyce told IANS in a telephonic interview from Washington.
The 60-year-old is busy promoting Salt, which was originally written around a male sleeper spy. But when Tom Cruise turned down the role fearing the character was too close to his Mission Impossible (MI) character Ethan Hunt, the script was changed into a female centric story.
This is the second time Noyce has directed Jolie, after the 1999 crime thriller The Bone Collector.
Distributed by Columbia Pictures, the action thriller also stars Liev Schreiber and Chiwetel Ejioforthe and releases worldwide on July 23.
It will hit Indian screens in English, Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and the director is quite positive about the response."Indian audiences love spectacle. They like complicated stories, action and I believe they love Angelina Jolie. I hope that they find this film really entertaining and a wonderful ride like a roller coaster," he said.
Excerpts from the exclusive interview with IANS:
Is it true that Tom Cruise was first choice for Salt?
Tom Cruise was one of the actors I was talking to when the part was originally written for a man. When Tom decided not to play Edwin A. Salt, we moved on to Angelina.
So how different is Salt from the MI series?
Ethan Hunt is a man and Evelyn Salt is a woman. That's the first way of differentiating them. Salt is much more reality-based. It's mainly real people placing themselves in real danger on the screen. There's very little CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) in Salt.
Superficially there are similarities between Mission Impossible and Salt. Ethan Hunt's missions are always larger than life and fantastic - no criticism of them all but they are not meant to be believed.
And does Jolie make a better spy than Tom Cruise?
They say that as humans we trust people who are attractive more than people who are not attractive. So Angelina makes the perfect spy because she is completely a goddess.
Looking at your credits like Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, The Saint and now Salt - are you fascinated by spy and crime thrillers?
My dad was a military spy during the second world war. So I grew up on such stories. As a result of my father's job, I've always been interested in the world of spies. Since the last decade, I've been looking for a project that deals with sleeper spies.
The interesting part about such people (sleeper spies) is what happens if they come from a totalitarian situation, go to an enemy country and actually fall in love with that country. Salt is about such thing.
The story in fact came true in America. In the last two weeks, we have been constantly entertained by the headlines of the arrest of Russian sleeper spies in New York City. The concept of sleeper spies is a lot involved in the world.
What are your expectations from Indian audiences for Salt?
Indian audiences love spectacle. They like complicated stories, action and I believe they love Angelina Jolie. I hope that they find this film really entertaining and a wonderful ride like a roller coaster. Salt is a very entertaining popcorn thriller and will keep the (Indian) audiences on the edge of their seats.
Any plans to ever direct a Bollywood film?
I think every director in the world would love to direct a Bollywood movie after Danny Boyle made his own version of a Bollywood film with Slumdog Millionaire.
(Robin Bansal can be contacted at email@example.com )