Thursday, July 13, 2006

Angelina Jolie to Play Role of Journalist

Angelina Jolie is going to play the role of Daniel Pearl’s widow in a movie.

Marianne Pearl penned A Mighty Heart after her husband was kidnapped, killed, and beheaded by Islamic militants in Pakistan in 2002. Pearl was a reporter for the Wall Street Journal and was attempting to interview a secretive terrorist.

I loved A Mighty Heart. Although Marianne’s heart was ripped apart by her husband’s murder, the book was free from rancor. I was moved by her openness, her willingness to forgive her husband’s captors. She is a freelance journalist of mixed nationality, part French, part Caribbean, and she clearly prizes understanding and cooperation among different countries.

The book reminded me of Nien Cheng’s incredible memoir, Life and Death in Shanghai, about her days during China’s Cultural Revolution. When I was a young reporter in Ithaca, New York, Chang came to speak at Cornell University. I interviewed her in a small campus classroom and I was struck by her calm and centeredness. I couldn’t believe she wasn’t angry after all Mao’s men had done to her – including tossing her daughter out of a fifth-story window. I truly felt I was in the presence of someone noble.

I spotted Marianne Pearl a few years ago. She had come to the UC Berkeley School of Journalism to deliver the commencement address. She was staying at the Claremont Hotel and I saw her at the swimming pool, playing with her young son. I really wanted to approach her and tell her how much I enjoyed her book. I could have, as we have friends in common, but I was too shy. I also didn’t want to invade her privacy and her precious vacation with her young son. So I spied on her from afar and tried to wonder what her life must be like.

I am not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie, but I think she will play an excellent Marianne Pearl. Most of all, I am happy the book, which talks about international journalism, violence, and love in a most remarkable way, will become a move.

Filming by Michael Winterbottom, who directed Welcome to Sarajevo, will begin in about five weeks.


LiquidLifeHacker said...

I think she will do a good job also.

Thank you for sharing your moment at the pool story. I am amazed about the power to forgive. I suppose that when your spirit truly does get tested that far that it stretches in all abstract ways and much light falls on those that have it all fall back to a peaceful forgiveness. your interview with Nien Cheng on your blog? I would love to read it!

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