Here is a sample of the stars and directors of summer’s most anticipated films and what it was like to create them:
Angelina Jolie stars in Salt as CIA agent accused of being a Russian sleeper spy. The role, originally written for a man (Tom Cruise was previously attached to star), called for a lot of butt-kicking action. “I had just had two babies, and the push to be physically strong was very welcomed at the time,” says Jolie. Stunt work is something the actress has taken pride in doing herself since the beginning of her career. It turns out, motherhood hadn’t scared her straight. “The funny thing about having children is that now I am twice as motivated to do a cool stunt because my kids will like it,” she says.
Iron Man 2 director Jon Favreau says he made it a priority to establish a proper foundation for the sequel: “We didn’t want to have just another armored suit for Tony to bounce off, because we’d already done that. Secret identities are pretty well picked over, so we went the other way: What happens to a guy who’s already bigger-than-life who then becomes exponentially more famous? That was our starting point.”
Sex and the City 2 star Sarah Jessica Parker hints at her character Carrie’s state of mind in the sequel, in which she and her friends vacation in the Middle East (where she encounters her former beau, Aidan): “She’s tried to settle into married life and what that’s supposed to mean. She keeps questioning tradition.”
For Kristen Stewart, who reprises her role as Bella in Twilight: Eclipse, locking lips with costar Taylor Lautner (who plays her pal Jacob) felt odd—not just because she thinks of Lautner as a kid brother, but because Bella’s heart truly belongs to vampire hottie Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson). “It felt really weird kissing someone else as Bella,” says Stewart. “I was like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ It was a really strange experience—as it should have been.”
Inception, a new thriller from Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan, concerns a group of freelance dream thieves who steal people’s ideas for corporate gain by inserting themselves into strangers’ subconscious while they are sleeping. Trippy plot description aside, “It’s not a rug-pulling, twisty, turny sort of film. It’s not a film that confuses people,” says Nolan, who’s keeping further details guarded. Ellen Page, who stars alongside Leonardo Di Caprio, says that “the stuff he does is going to blow people’s minds. It definitely blew mine.” Page won’t elaborate beyond saying that the movie had her doing “the craziest s— I’ve ever done.”
Julia Roberts, who headlines the screen adaptation of the bestseller Eat Pray Love, had some interesting thoughts on an early script. “I remember in the first draft I read, there was, like, one dinner,” says the actress. “So, much to my ultimate chagrin, I said to [director Ryan Murphy], ‘There’s just not enough eating! It is called EAT Pray Love.’ Of course, there I am stuffing my face in Rome every other day. I gained seven pounds in Italy.”
For more behind-the-scenes scoop on 98 upcoming films, including new installments of Shrek and Toy Story, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands 4/16.