‘Those Who Wish Me Dead’ Star Angelina Jolie Opens Up About ‘Huge Amount of Respect’ for Firefighters After Portraying One

by Suzanne Halliburton

Angelina Jolie discovered new admiration for firefighters as she trained to play one in her new movie Those Who Wish Me Dead.

Jolie’s character is Hannah Farber. In the movie, she’s a reclusive smokejumper who retreats to a lonely tower in Montana. It’s been a year since she misjudged the wind as she tried to fight a giant fire. She’s still gutted and tentative. Then, she discovers a young boy who is trying to escape a couple of assassins who just killed his father.

Taylor Sheridan, who reworked the script, is the movie’s director who pushed for Angelina Jolie to be in the cast.

The movie opens Friday in theaters. You can also stream it on HBO Max. Angelina Jolie, as the movie’s star attraction, is making the media rounds to promote her newest work.

Angelina Jolie told Fox News: “To explore it with (Taylor Sheridan) who really knows and loves this part of the world and to get to know the firefighters, the smoke jumpers, the survivalists, the people that are in this part of America and to spend time with them and try to do our best to represent them on film — just a huge amount of respect for them.”

Jon Bernthal, who also starred in the movie alongside Angelina Jolie, called it an honor to learn about the firefighters.

“I think every project comes with this whole new kind of introduction to [a] world,” he told Fox, “I think human beings are tremendously fascinating and spend time in anyone else’s world and try to explore the nooks and crannies of it… it’s a real privilege; real honor.”

Sheridan Said He Made it Tough on Angelina Jolie, Both Physically and Mentally

Sheridan, who also created the TV hit Yellowstone, conceded that he made it tough on Angelina Jolie. They both wanted to see authenticity.

“You know, the character sort of drags Angie through emotional hell, and then I drug her through physical hell,” Sheridan told the Associated Press. “That’s how we made the movie.”

Sheridan initially was brought in to give the script more oomph. After all, he specializes in big, broad Western dramas. He wrote Hell or Highwater and SicarioHell or High Water earned Sheridan his first Oscar nomination. Sheridan earned a nomination from the Writer’s Guild of America for best screenplay for Sicario.

The Angelina Jolie movie spotlights smokejumpers. According to the U.S. Forest Service, such men and women are firefighters who are the initial responders to a wildland fire. They usually parachute into the action. If they do their job well, the fire is contained early.

In the movie, Angelina Jolie plays a smokejumper, but she’s also an expert on wilderness survival. The movie was filmed in New Mexico over two months last year.

Angelina Jolie never had an issue making movies with live-action. But she was rusty since she hadn’t done one in six years. Jolie has worked behind the camera and her projects over the past decade include two Maleficent movies and By the Sea. For this movie, she needs to be more like her characters in Mr. & Mrs. Smith and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

And, of course, the movie features a gigantic fire. The bad guys set fire to a forest in hopes of flushing out the young boy.