In 2015, then-spouses Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt costarred in the actress’ self-directed film, By the Sea, where they portrayed a couple in the midst of a troubled marriage. Ironically, production took place on the heels of their 2014 wedding. They jokingly called the project their “workingmoon,” since they filmed in Malta in lieu of a real honeymoon.
Though the movie’s premise seemed prescient, Jolie, at the time, assured that her and Brad’s real-life marriage was nothing like the one they portrayed onscreen. “I’m counting on the audience to know that if this was close to us at all, we could never make this film,” Jolie told Today in 2015. “It’s because we’re actually very, very stable and these aren’t our issues.”
Now, looking in hindsight a year after announcing their divorce, Jolie notes a certain “heaviness” was present while filming By the Sea. The movie wasn’t the direct cause of their messy, public split, the actress noted, but she hoped it would help her and Brad.
“It should have been good for us,” Jolie said in a recent episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Award Chatter podcast. “To be honest, I wanted to work with him because we had met working together [on Mr. & Mrs. Smith] and we worked together well. And even though it was a challenging role, we’d matured and I wanted us to do some serious work together and I wanted to see him do that kind of work.
“I thought it would be a good way for us to communicate. And I think some ways it was, and in some ways we learned some things, but there was a heaviness probably during that situation that carried on and it wasn’t because of the film. It was something that we were dealing — things happen for different reasons. Why did I write that exact piece? Why did we feel the way we did when we made it? I’m not sure.”