It wasn’t exactly easy for Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to play an unhappily married couple in the upcoming period drama By the Sea. In a recent interview with the DGA, Jolie — who also wrote and directed the movie — talked about bringing in real-life dynamics from their marriage to their roles. “I’d be directing myself and him in a scene where we’re having a fight, and I’d be pulling out the parts [of him] that have an aggression toward me or when you’re frustrated with each other—it was very heavy,” said Jolie (via Vanity Fair). “We kept joking that all of the crew felt like they were living in a house where the parents were fighting and you don’t know where to stand or where to look.”
It sounds just a bit uncomfortable, which is why it’s even more incredible to remember that the By the Sea shoot was actually Jolie and Pitt’s honeymoon. Rather than going on a traditional getaway after their wedding last August, the couple packed up their six kids and headed to the Mediterranean nation of Malta, where the couple filmed the romantic drama. In exclusive photos published on People.com, Jolie and Pitt can be seen on location, working behind-the-scenes and posing in fabulous 1970s costumes. Go here for the photos.
By the Sea tells the story of a married pair — a writer, Roland (Pitt) and a former dancer, Vanessa (Jolie) — who visit a seaside resort in 1970s France during a rough patch in their relationship. As they begin to meet other traveling couples, revelations about their own marriage come to light. “It focuses on three couples, all at different stages in their lives,” Jolie told People. “And at its center are the questions of what happened to Roland and Vanessa and why they are in the place they are now.”
The film, Jolie’s directorial follow-up to 2014’s Unbroken, marks the first time she and Pitt have appeared in a movie together since 2005’s Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Unlike that comic-action caper, By the Sea promises to be an emotional drama. “This is a story about a relationship derailed by loss, the tenacity of love and the path to recovery and acceptance,” Jolie and Pitt said in a joint statement this spring.
In People, Jolie described the challenge of directing Pitt in a movie for the first time. “It was difficult to be both inside and outside of the scenes, to be able to give directions,” she said. “It was hardest [when] I was directing our fight scenes.” But, she added, “I understand and appreciate his creative process and his work ethic even more than before.”