Angelina Jolie Pitt Talks Inspiration for 'By the Sea' Characters with Brad Pitt: 'You Can Absolutely Madly Love the Same Person You Want to Kill'

The two reunite on screen for the first time in 10 years in By the Sea, which opens Nov. 13

Photo: Courtesy of Vogue


Angelina Jolie Pitt and Brad Pitt are reuniting on screen for the first time in 10 years in their upcoming film, By the Sea, in which they play a struggling couple.

But Jolie Pitt, 40, says that if the movie was based on her marriage, she wouldn’t have been able to do it.

“Brad and I have our issues, but if the characters were even remotely close to our problems we couldn’t have made the film,” she told Vogue in its November cover story.

In fact, it was the idea of playing a couple completely different from themselves that made them more interested in the project.

“As artists, we wanted something that took us out of our comfort zones,” she said in the article. “Just being raw actors. It’s not the safest idea. But life is short.”

The couple echoed this sentiment in a behind-the-scenes video by Vogue of By the Sea.

“We can experiment and play and it’s oddly a safer environment than any set I’ve been on before, so we let loose,” Pitt explained.

But even if the film isn’t based on their real life, Jolie Pitt said the underlying struggles their characters go through are still relatable to every couple.

“Everybody knows that there’s never just the tragedy of life or the humor of life or pure joy of life. Relationships have those extremes. You can absolutely madly love the person you want to kill,” she said as they both started to laugh.

The clip gives a closer look at Roland (Pitt) and Vanessa’s (Jolie Pitt) tumultuous relationship, depicting episodes of marital strife, including physical altercations.

But one look at Vogue‘s cover story and it’s clear that the couple are a far cry from their on-screen personas. The issue is filled with gorgeous photos of the A-list actress, including a few with her famous family in tow.

In one photo, Jolie Pitt is seen sitting in a sidecar with daughter Vivienne, 7, pulled by Pitt on a motorcycle and surrounded by Maddox, 14, Pax, 11, Zahara, 10, Shiloh, 9, and Knox, 7, all geared up for a motocross run.

Jolie Pitt also explains how filming By the Sea served as an “unconventional” honeymoon for the couple, who recently celebrated their first year of marriage.

Jolie Pitt also revealed that she wrote the script for By the Sea eight years ago after her mother, Marcheline Bertrand, died of ovarian cancer, and the grief she felt during that time largely inspired her own character, Vanessa.

“My mother was an Earth Mother and the nicest person in the world,” said Jolie Pitt (noting that the character of Vanessa is not). “But the specific grief came from the woman I was closest to, seeing her art slip away, her body fail her.”

Jolie Pitt wore numerous hats while working on set, acting as writer, director and star. “It was difficult to be both inside and outside of the scenes, to be able to give directions,” she previously told PEOPLE.

“It was hardest [when] I was directing our fight scenes,” she added.

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 said.

By the Sea hits theaters Nov. 13.

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