September 02, 2011 at 04:00 AM EDT

In the Land of Blood and Honey

Current Status
In Season
127 minutes
Wide Release Date
Goran Kostic, Zana Marjanovic
Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie
War, Drama

Angelina Jolie wanted those who lived through the Bosnian war to speak for themselves in her drama about the conflict, In the Land of Blood and Honey (opening Dec. 23). So while she shot the movie in English, she did separate takes of the dialogue scenes in Bosnian-Croatian-Serbian — a tricky thing for a first-time filmmaker who doesn’t speak the language. The actors playing lovers torn apart by the war — Goran Kostić and Zana Marjanović — had to be her guides. ”I’d pull [Marjanović] aside and say, ‘Which take did you think [Kostić] was the most connected to, because I’m not quite sure?”’ Jolie recalls. ”She’d say, ‘Definitely the second one.’ It was a unique process.” In the foreign version, Jolie says the actors performed in the more demonstrative ”Balkan” way. ”They naturally toned it down for English to make it more relatable, more what we’re used to,” she says. ”In the other [film] they go a little bigger, because they live bigger.” But one scene, where a character casually says, ”I love you,” was fine in English yet seemed unnaturally low-key and whispered in BCS. When Jolie asked why it was so quiet, she was told, ”That’s just us.” ”They said, We don’t speak like that. We’re not American. We don’t order a pizza and say, ‘Can I have a pizza? Thanks, love you!”’ Jolie laughs. ”We [Americans] just throw that around.” The result is two notably different presentations of the same movie. ”They’re close, but they’re not exactly the same,” she says.

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