“She’s instructed by Alexander to take a train from Paris to Venice, and while on the train find a man – someone of Alexander’s height and build,” says Jolie. “She finds Frank (played by Johnny Depp) and throws him into this adventure.”
Jolie had been attracted to “The Tourist” by the potential of the strong female character and by the chance to work with director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, and to have him co-write the script. After a very early meeting, it was clear that the director and star were on the same page about the kind of movie they wanted to make. “Henckel von Donnersmarck’s `The Lives of Others’ is a beautiful, intelligent film, but also heavy,” says Jolie. “When we met, he was very clear that he wanted to make a movie that was luxurious and fun, something that would be exciting for people to watch but didn’t take itself too seriously. It was a perfect match.”
“There are a lot of people looking for Alexander Pearce,” says Jolie. “He’s stolen a lot of money from a gangster. The gangster wants revenge – and his money back – and the British want him for the taxes on the money he stole. Everyone’s looking for him, including Elise, who hasn’t seen him for a long time and isn’t quite sure when he’ll turn up again.”
Playing off rumors that he has drastically altered his appearance, Pearce gets word to Elise: get on a certain train for Venice, choose a stranger of approximately Pearce’s height and build, and make everyone else believe that man is Pearce. She chooses the American math teacher Frank Tupelo (Depp), who’s headed to Venice to try to mend a broken heart. “She throws him into an adventure he’s not prepared for,” Jolie adds.
Of course, not everything goes according to Elise’s plan. “Imagine a woman who is elegant, sophisticated, and educated, who falls for a guy who is not any of those things,” says Henckel von Donnersmarck. “She has this grand master plan, and falling for him was not meant to happen.”
“My character in this film is different than any other film,” says Jolie. “Florian gave me very specific direction. My natural modern rhythm is quicker and harder. At the beginning of the shoot, Florian’s note to me was to slow down, as Elise lives in a world of quiet luxury and elegance.”
“Angelina wakes up in the morning and is glamorous and feminine, and I wanted to capture that about her on film in the character of Elise,” says Henckel von Donnersmarck.
“I wanted this to be a thriller that was simply a fun time at the movies,” says producer Graham King. “Two extraordinary actors, with amazing chemistry, set in an exotic, bigger-than-life location. Who wouldn’t want to go on an adventure in Paris and Venice with Angelina and Johnny?”
The Tourist opens in theaters today, Jan. 8.
Watch the HD trailer of “The Tourist” here: