It’s been 10 years since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie Pitt fell for each other on the set of Mr. and Mrs. Smith – beginning their love story and later cementing them as one of Hollywood’s most powerful couples – but now the stars are reuniting on screen in the new romantic drama By the Sea.
Set in France during the 1970s, By the Sea tells the story of a struggling marriage between Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), a former dancer, and her writer husband, Roland (Pitt). “It focuses on three couples, all at different stages in their lives,” the 40-year-old mom of six tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “And at its center are the questions of what happened to Roland and Vanessa and why they are in the place they are now.”
Now Jolie Pitt is sharing behind-the-scenes photos from the set, and opening up about what it’s like to work with her husband again after all these years.
The couple, who are coming up on their one-year wedding anniversary, traded in a typical newlywed celebration of private vacation time for an “unconventional” honeymoon, as Jolie Pitt describes it. The whole family, including their six children, jetted off to the Mediterranean nation of Malta to begin filming the ’70s drama.
Jolie Pitt wore numerous hats while working on set, acting as the writer, director and star of the film. “It was difficult to be both inside and outside of the scenes, to be able to give directions,” she explains.
The couple have no problem working together as parents and philanthropic partners, but for Jolie Pitt, taking on the role of director and giving Pitt, 51, instructions was not an easy task.
“It was hardest [when] I was directing our fight scenes,” she says.
But finding new ways to overcome this challenge only brought the couple closer together.
“I understand and appreciate his creative process and his work ethic even more than before,” she adds.
By the Sea hits theaters Nov. 13.
• Reporting by MARY GREEN
For additional photos and more from Jolie Pitt, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday