July 12, 2010 -- -- She is one of the most beautiful and talked-about women in the world.
"Nightline" co-anchor Cynthia McFadden sat down Friday with Angelina Jolie in Washington, D.C., where she said she'd never wanted to be a Bond girl -- but she had always wanted to be Bond. She gets her chance in her new summer thriller, "Salt."
Jolie plays the tough-as-nails CIA agent Evelyn Salt. She's a spy -- but there's a catch. Are things what they seem, or is Evelyn Salt, CIA agent, actually part of a sleeper cell ... spying for Russia?
If the conceit sounds drawn from the news of day, it's just one more twist in the life of a star who never seems far from the spotlight.
"It's bizarre, isn't it?" said Jolie. "It's been so bizarre for us. ... I have two halves. You know, a part of me feels, as a citizen of a country, you think, 'I don't want anything to affect our new positive relationship with Russia.' And the other part of me is somebody who's in a film, thinks, 'My god, what timing.' And this is so strange, because all through making the film, there was a question of, 'Is it possible? Does it still exist today? Is it poignant? Is it relevant?'"
Jolie's role was originally created for Tom Cruise, who was to play a character called Edwin Salt. Then Jolie stepped in as Evelyn -- but none of the tough-guy punishment a male action hero would dish out was diluted.
McFadden asked her if in real life she'd ever made a fist and punched someone. "I have," Jolie said. She was a teenager.
"I did punch," Jolie said. "I think because I was so -- it was my first fight, you know? And you -- and you don't know what else to do. But you just want it to be, I don't know. You figure you better do it right the first time or they're gonna come back at you!"
But she added, "real fighting is so awkward and not cool at all."
In the movie, Jolie fights with the best of them. She even does her own stunts, some of which look awfully dangerous.
"Because I have six kids, I would never do something that could kill me," Jolie said. "But there were things that were -- I could have broken my arm or broken my leg, or that kind of thing."
Angelina Jolie: Tough Girl, 'Goofy Mommy'
Jolie acknowledged being the tough girl is part of her persona.
"In some way," she said, "I suppose. Or I wouldn't be able to do the film. ... As I said, if it came down to something I had to do, I'm fine to get dirty and tough with the best of 'em, you know? Because I would believe in what I'm fighting for. And I'm not afraid. But I'm also just Mommy, and goofy Mommy."
The "goofy mommy" movie star said she brought the kids to D.C. while she promotes the movie.
"They're in the hotel room," Jolie said "...I'm sure they've made a fort out of every possible thing in that room."
McFadden asked Jolie whether six children was enough -- or are there plans for more?
"There's no plans at the moment for more," Jolie said. "But always talk about it. We're always open. You know? We kind of joke about it, 'cause in the morning we're so tired. 'Cause there -- nobody spends the night. We wake up and we have breakfast. ... And so, we always have this thing kind of first thing in the morning where we're really, really tired. And we always look at each other and wonder like, Are we ever gonna get sleep?' And then we joke about sleep. ... But yet, we still love the idea of having more children."
Jolie described the family's typical breakfast routine -- who cooks she or partner Brad Pitt?
"We take turns. He's better at making eggs and bacon than I am. I try. But I think everybody prefers Dad's eggs and bacon. They always want pancakes. Knox is very into pancakes right now. And gets really upset if he can't have pancakes. You know, we just try to-- we try to corral them. We've had to put new gates up, because the twins are kind of going everywhere, while we were trying to make breakfast and get the other others out the door for camp. So, we've had to put like extra gates on the kitchen. And-- we have drawers in the kitchen full of toys. And we've got-- you know, just stations kind of for somebody's getting ready. So, the twins have their own little section. ... We pride ourselves on the fact that we got it. We got this... We got it. You get the juice, you get the thing. We're like bartenders. We're like-- we're like waiters. You know?"
'Root for Women'
Jolie said she and Pitt work together in disciplining the children.
"I think I'm better at disciplining the girls. And he's better at disciplining the boys," she said. "But we -- we kind of made a plan early on that we believe that you can't be good cop / bad cop. That you have to back each other no matter what!'"
"We are working together. You cannot break us," she added with a laugh.
Jolie has said she doesn't intend to act forever, but in the meantime, she enjoys tackling roles like Evelyn Salt. She says she was deeply inspired with the retired CIA women she met to prepare for the role, their accomplishments, their sacrifices.
"I really do root for women," Jolie said. In film and in life, she says, she admires strong women. There is no question she is one.