March 12, 2004 02:41 PM

Her name once was synonymous with PDA – but nowadays, Angelina Jolie has taken a step back from the gratuitous public liplocks and blood vials (which epitomized her brief marriage to Billy Bob Thornton) to get passionate about motherhood. Now 28 and twice-divorced, the Tomb Raider star is lavishing her attention on her 2-year-old son, Maddox, and keeping her love life (mostly) behind closed doors.

She does share a few personal details with the world – namely, what it’s like to work with a “very sexy” Ethan Hawke in Taking Lives, as well as rumored love Colin Farrell, in the upcoming Alexander. Talking with reporters recently, the actress mused on her life in the gossip mill and how she keeps her “lovers” in their place.

Director D.J. Caruso likens your Taking Lives character, an FBI profiler, to a Clint Eastwood type, and Ethan as your femme fatale. Do you see it like that?
I find that really funny, and I keep getting asked if I felt like I was playing a man. I don’t get that, because I thought that she was extremely feminine and very girly.

How was it working with Ethan?
Ethan is amazing and is very sexy in this. We don’t often see him in those roles … he can play dark.

What about Colin Farrell in Alexander? Were there any offscreen sparks there?
Well, according to the papers, first we hated each other, and then we were madly in love, and then we weren’t speaking to each other. I can’t even track it anymore. No, we became great friends.

I mean, the thing about rumors is that you’re on set with Val Kilmer and (director) Oliver Stone and me and Colin, and we all looked around thinking, Well, which group is going to get attacked with rumors, yours or ours?

You must read about yourself a lot in the gossip columns.
I tend to not read the papers and I don’t watch those TV shows. I think that I heard that I was with Jared Leto and I thought, Where did that come from?

So, you’re not with Jared Leto?
I’m not.

What about your ex-husband, Jonny Lee Miller?
No, but Jonny and I are – the weird thing is, which I keep saying to everyone, I have lovers. (But) I keep them away. My son is not involved with them because I don’t want him to get confused. So, I have friends that I’ve met in hotel rooms that are old friends of mine, and I have relationships, but not publicly and not with any one man because it’s very confusing to children.

So you’re comfortable flying solo? You went to the Oscars by yourself.
I wasn’t even conscious that that was a thing. I just didn’t really have anyone to go with.

For Taking Lives you spent a lot of time with a real FBI profiler. Was it creepy seeing the crime-scene photos?
This was weird because the profiler would show me a picture of a murder, and you’d think, This has got to be this psychotic-looking person. And then she’d show me this picture of a really dashing-looking man with his lovely wife and three kids in their suburban home, and you don’t understand how it’s that. You start to look at things differently.

Was there a point where you felt like you’d had enough of the gore?
Yes, I did. I mean, I think that’s why me and Ethan had our kids around a lot because without realizing it, we needed them. We needed to go back outside and play for lunch, play football.

What’s next for you?
I’m shooting Mr. and Mrs. Smith right now with Brad (Pitt).

After doing Alexander, did you compare togas with the Troy star?
Yes, we did. We actually did.

Why’d you pick Smith, a story about unhappily married assassins assigned to kill each other?
A girlfriend of mine who read it, she said, “If there was ever a comedy, this is the kind of comedy that you could do.” My character’s got a lot of darker elements and her humor and silliness and her personality actually suit me. … And I kept thinking that I wasn’t really funny.

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