But in a sneak peek of "By the Sea," which will be released later this month, Jolie reveals the real inspiration behind the film: the loss of her mother, Marcheline Bertrand.
"I wrote 'By the Sea' because I wanted to explore grief," Jolie explained in the behind-the-scenes clip exclusive to People and Entertainment Weekly.
"Much of the film and my character are very much about my mother and my feelings about my mother," the 40-year-old actress said.
"Everybody in the film represents a different way of addressing grief," Jolie revealed. "Some have yet to experience it, some are able to come to terms with it and some are overwhelmed by it."
Bertrand, 56, the ex-wife of Jon Voight, died in 2007 following a near eight-year battle with ovarian cancer.
Actor Niels Arestrup, who plays the bartender, commends Jolie for writing and directing the film.
"It's very daring on her part to have attempted this more experimental, even more marginal adventure, in which she is undoubtedly saying something which has lingered in her head and lingered in her heart," the actor said in the clip.
Pitt, 51, also praised his wife for writing such a nontraditional film.
"What Angie's written is a very European film," he can be heard saying in the clip. "It's sparse, very elegant in its telling."
For Jolie, working within an independent film structure, she found freedom to say what she wanted.
"You can leave things open, unanswered," she said, "because that’s life."