Angelina Jolie on the importance of realising not everyone will like you

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Amy Swales
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The actor-director has described how she realised it was OK that she sometimes pulled rank on those working for her.

Hollywood directors Angelina Jolie and Patty Jenkins have discussed the importance of forgetting about ‘likeability’ when you’re managing a team – and dealing with “destructive” personalities ruining the workplace dynamic.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Jolie said she was on a film set when she came to the realisation that not everyone would like her as she pursued her vision.

During a round table interview with other film-makers, including Jenkins, Guillermo Del Toro, Greta Gerwig, Denis Villeneuve and Joe Wright, Jolie said: “When I started, I wanted everybody to feel this is the greatest experience. And then I realised, there can be days they don’t like me.

“I would rather them not like me and be proud of the end result.”

Though may obviously can’t identify with being a big-budget Hollywood film director, anyone will experience of people management can recognise the conflict that comes with wanting a harmonious working environment and having to pull rank.

And Wonder Woman director Jenkins elaborated on how it felt to fire someone from her set, after Villeneuve spoke about a similar issue on Blade Runner 2049.

Patty Jenkins (right) with original Wonder Woman, Lynda Carter

“You have to be a leader, you have to be a manager on a whole other level,” she told the magazine. “I had interesting massive-group dynamics, where I was like, ‘This whole group of people works together great. And now, all of a sudden, they are all complaining about each other. Where is the [problem]? Oh, it’s you.’”

She continued: “And I had to get rid of that person. And I feel for you and all of that. But you are a destructive personality in the midst of hundreds and hundreds of people who need to go to work every day.”

Villeneuve added: “You are not there to make friends.”

In the interview, Jolie also spoke of the difficulties of wanting to bring a subject she feels passionate about to more people’s attention, but doubting her own abilities.

Asked if directing films affected her, she referred to her film First They Killed My Father, an adaptation of Loung Ung’s memoir, and replied: “Yes. In Cambodia, [the Pol Pot regime] is subject matter that has been debated.

“[But] this history is not known internationally and it made me upset when I was in that country. I have seen how it affects the people, and I have a son [Cambodian-born Maddox] who deserves to know his history, and I want him to know what his birth parents went through.

“But did I feel I had the right to be the one doing that? It was hard every day to know if I was good enough or the right person to do it. Every day I woke up feeling, ‘Am I good enough?’”

Image: Rex Features


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Amy Swales

Amy Swales is a freelance writer who likes to eat, drink and talk about her dog. She will continue to plunder her own life and the lives of her loved ones for material in the name of comedy, catharsis and getting pictures of her dog on the internet.