• Day 144: Missing “Angie” – More Spy than Sweetheart

    Date: 2010.07.21 | Category: Uncategorized | Tags:

    Photos of Angelina Jolie at the premiere of her new spy-thriller Salt surfaced this week and I got nostalgic for Angelina’s big summer production of 2008.

    That was when she and Brad moved into Chateau Miraval just outside one of France’s prettiest villages, Correns, and she decided to give birth to her twins at Fondation Lenval,  a hospital right on the Mediterranean about 15 blocks from me. So thoughtful!

    “Salt” was a ways off  but Angelina conducted herself as an international spy when she was in the south of France – outwitting all the crazy press that stalked her. And looking good and delivering twins while doing it!

    I biked to work for the month that “Angie,”  which is what all the paparazzo called her, was at Lenval.  First she waited three weeks in the hospital to have her babies, then she kept them there a week.

    The eccentric paparazzo – I remember one German guy who drove in from Munich with a camper van and car attached and had two enormous dogs who slept in his car outside the hospital – entertained me during the long days when rumors flew about Angelina having her babies while we tried in vain to substantiate them.

    This was back when I was still eating sweets and my favorite Angelina-era dessert was the baklava in the Lebanese pastry shop kitty-corner from the hospital.

    Lenval is not in a nice area of town although it faces the Mediterranean and from the beach it looks like a blue and glass futuristic Bond lair.  The trannies come out at night.  A truly mad Englishman from the National Enquirer (who was thrown out of his hotel room for reasons that are still unclear) got in a fight one night with some trannies who sat on the hood of his ancient Mercedes, denting it permanently.

    Fluff story, you say?  Not really.  It was the biggest story of the year for People magazine and even though no one ever admits to reading People outside a dentist office, it’s the publication that arguably mirrors America more than any other one.

    Brad and Angelina arrived in the south of France in May 2008 and stayed here for more than four months.  I got to see how she operates by covering her while she was here, not to mention the crazy 24 hours during which her twins were finally born.

    The photographers who track Brangelina’s every move are odd ducks but they’re also a serious lot – since one photo of Angelina (like the one that made the cover of In Touch Weekly taken from a light plane of a very-pregnant Angelina standing outside her chateau) can net over $500,000.

    They’ve got Interpol scanners in their SUVs and contacts who give them private jet flight manifestos, the works.  Me, I only confirmed the birth of her twins (after In Touch incorrectly said she had given birth to two girls) by tracking down her obstetrician at home early in the morning. I found him through the French white pages.  Very low-tech I know.

    Angelina outwitted everyone, except the one photographer who got the big-bucks  In Touch photo and became a friend of mine. A fascinating guy himself and a match for scary-smart Angelina – who used a helicopter to land on the roof on Lenval when she arrived (no one found out for two days) and left in two unmarked vans late in the middle of the night.  It was all very Bourne Identity.

    Oh, and she arranged ahead of time (Angelina has no publicist and does everything with just her cell phone) to give the entire scoop about the twins birth to Nice-Matin. The lucky reporter then wrote a series of gloating stories mocking every other journalist who didn’t have full access as he did.  One day I even made one of his columns as he described me translating one press conference live from my phone to New York, pointing out that “this is the type of news Americans pay attention to.”

    I wonder what will happen to Angelina in the long run.  If you are inside her world, you know she arranges photo ops with her kids ahead of time with favored photographers.  Nothing is left to chance.  Someone who has covered her for more than 10 years characterizes her as “depressed.”

    Maybe she was depressed but maybe meeting Brad and having her six kids cured her of that.  Having the world believe she is the luckiest, most accomplished actress, lover, mother etc. probably helps her believe it, too.

    I tend to believe what she once said about always having had too much energy for the room and how sometimes that energy got turned back on her. Now she has such a big life, the energy just goes forward.

    I can’t help but admire her, because what she does requires so much intelligence, talent, stamina and derring-do. She’s even a licensed pilot and adheres to an amazing work ethic when it comes to making films on a regular basis, not to mention her humanitarian work.

    What I don’t admire is how much she talks about her kids’ personal lives and how she lets them be photographed.  During the Cannes Film Festival in 2008, Brad and Angelina brought Shiloh to the Bonpoint children’s clothing store in the center of Cannes and it was predictably mobbed.

    Shiloh was only 2 at the time and looked so small and vulnerable standing in this store with all the vultures outside.  I didn’t see why her parents thought it was a good idea to bring her into that chaos.

    Something that struck me, however, while covering Angelina at Lenval hospital was that she never had any girlfriends visit her.  She has a full-time assistant but, unlike Jennifer Aniston and her crack support team of BFFs, I’ve never seen references or proof that Angelina has women friends.

    Brad and the kids showed up every day (that’s them above arriving at Lenval one afternoon) and her brother, James Haven, visited a couple times.  But never any girlfriends.  I don’t have sisters, either, but I’ve made up for it with a ton of amazing women friends.  Angelina doesn’t seem to need them.

    Still, Angelina has the biggest, coolest life of anyone I know. And now she has three little girls who can be her friends.