Pitt says he struggled with how to "broach the subject" of Jolie playing Mariane Pearl

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated June 19, 2007 08:15 AM

When Brad Pitt was casting A Mighty Heart, he knew Angelina Jolie would be perfect to star as Mariane Pearl – he just didn’t know how to ask.

“I knew the part had to be played by someone with Mariane’s strength and understanding of the world, but I didn’t know how to broach the subject,” Pitt, 43, tells Newsweek.

“It feels a little like Wolfowitz trying to get his girlfriend a job,” he quips (former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz resigned last month after he was accused of using his office to give his girlfriend a high-paying promotion).

Jolie herself has said she "was nervous" about playing Pearl, especially because the women are now close friends.

Says Pitt: “Being in the room with those two women is great fun. It’s like sitting down with Roosevelt and Churchill – only much better-looking.”

But after Jolie was cast, some black actors were shocked that the white actress would play Pearl, who is of Afro-Cuban and Dutch descent. Jolie tells Newsweek, “I know that people are frustrated at the lack of great roles [for people of color], but I think they’ve picked the wrong example here.”

Adds Pearl: “This is not about skin color. I wanted her to play me because I trust her. Aren’t we past this?”