After taking a bit of a break from the limelight following the release of her war film Unbroken, actress/filmmaker Angelina Jolie is lining up a series of new projects as both acting vehicles and directorial efforts. Jolie was planning on directing the large-scale elephant and rhino poaching drama Africa after Unbroken, which would have reunited her with cinematographer Roger Deakins and was set to star Brad Pitt, but the project hit pause over budget issues. That Unbroken failed to make a splash at the Oscars also didn’t help, and now in the wake of Jolie and Pitt’s divorce, it appears she’s no longer involved with Africa and the project is moving forward without her (and with a smaller budget).
However, as Jolie readies the release of her Cambodian genocide Netflix drama First They Killed My Father later this year, she’s gearing up to tackle some larger scale projects both in front of and behind the camera. Per THR, Jolie has an offer to return for Maleficent 2 for Disney and is also developing a pair of large-scale projects at Universal: Catherine the Great and Potemkin: The Imperial Love Affair, and a World War II spy drama called The Spy Who Loved, based on Clare Mulley’s book of the same name.
Jolie was in early talks to join the ensemble of Kenneth Branagh’s Murder on the Orient Express, but those talks broke down after the production needed to move forward while Jolie was still offering script notes. No matter, Catherine, The Spy Who Loved, and Maleficent 2 all offer meaty roles for the Oscar-winning actress, and while she’s turned down offers for Wanted 2 and Salt 2, she’s clearly still interested in starring in large-scale projects—assuming the script is right.
As for directorial efforts, THR adds that Jolie is prepping an adaptation of Alessandro Baricco’s novel Without Blood, which is a fable about the brutality of war. Indeed, Jolie has previously stated that she’s really only interested in directing projects that speak to some larger humanistic truth, so don’t expect her to saddle up for Captain Marvel.
There’s also Universal’s Bride of Frankenstein remake that the studio hoped so badly Jolie would star in that they greenlit her little-seen 2015 drama By the Sea. That project is now a ways off as it’s still searching for a writer, and Jolie seems focused on other films for the time-being. She’s also mulling over Sony’s Shoot Like a Girl as a star-vehicle, which tells the story of an American Air Force major and helicopter pilot who challenged the military’s exclusion of women from combat operations. American Sniper scribe Jason Hall is penning a new draft of the script.
So what will Jolie choose next? I’m still dying to see her Cleopatra movie directed by David Fincher but it sounds like that’s definitely dead. Before Maleficent, Jolie’s last stint in front of the camera was 2011’s The Tourist, so she could definitely use a high-profile acting role in a project that showcases her talents. Will that be Catherine the Great or The Spy Who Loved or Shoot Like a Girl, or will she put her focus on directing Without Blood next? Time will tell.