Angelina Jolie Dropkicks Hollywood’s Gender Rules
It’s been said for decades that Tinseltown is a “man’s world”. Well boys, meet the lady that just put Tinseltown on it’s ass. Angelina Jolie has been a mega star for years, has been a humanitarian, settled down with one of the hottest mougars of our time and now, she can add one more amazing feat to her resume: Angelina is taking home a cool $20 million to star in one of the summers hottest action movies, Salt, which was originally written for a man. Not just any man, either. Word has it that the writers for this mega action packed flick were seeking out some of the hottest male action stars in the biz with credentials matching that of Tom Cruise. So, when Jolie stepped into the role, they rewrote the script to accommodate a woman.
This isn’t her first action role, but it definitely takes the cake as being on of her biggest. We all remember her starring roles in blockbusters such as Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, Wanted and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, opposite Brad Pitt. Jolie has always shown that she has had the forcefulness needed to step into the more physical roles, but while there have been women who have dabbled with action films in the past, such as Jennifer Garner in Alias, Daredevil and Elektra, Kate Beckinsale in Underworld and Jessica Alba in Fantastic Four and Dark Angel, none of them have proven their ability in this genre quite like Angelina Jolie.
“It’s definitely unusual that a female has become an action star,” said Salt’s producer, Lorenzo di Bonaventura. “But it’s a funny thing. She’s not a female action star; she’s an action star. She’s really the first female to transcend gender. I don’t think it’s occurred before.”
In the past ten years alone, Jolie has starred in five action-packed films totaling nearly $1.5 billion combined worldwide.
Following Salt, which opens in theaters next Friday, Jolie’s next big release will be The Tourist, in which she stars alongside mega-mougar Johnny Depp, and her character in that film, Elise, will also be featuring some action packed scenes. Jolie will be paid generously for this role as well, another $20 million up front, plus a good share of the profit as well as other benefits, which can only be matched by two other actors in the world.
“The fact that she can is in the entertainment industry and can approach a male salary is an anomaly,” says director of women’s and gender studies at the University of San Diego, Lori Watson. “Maybe she can command a salary, but she can’t break through the expectations that women are supposed to be beautiful and sensualized and fit a certain mold and behave a certain way.”
With the prospect of many more action films in her future, including sequels to Wanted, Salt and possibly even The Tourist, you would think you could plan to see Jolie on the big screen for many years to come, even considering her choice to cut her work load down to one film per year. And with talks of her starring as Cleopatra, Malificent in a Sleeping Beauty spin-off and others still in the works, there should be lots of different genres for her fans, but what if Jolie just walked away?
“I’m very, very grateful, it’s a fun job. It’s a luxury,” she said in a recent interview in Vanity Fair. “But I don’t think I’ll do it much longer.”
So who would fill her shoes if she called it quits? Could anyone?
“I don’t see anybody right now,” di Bonaventura says. “Will there be more female action heroes? There will be another one, yeah, I believe that. You look at these things as a progression. First, they tried to mimic what a male action star was. And now with Angie, you’re just letting her be what she is. We’ve gotten away from that male classification of what is an action star. And that means that will open possibilities for somebody else. You just needed somebody to break the ground.”