from Empire Magazine. June 1996
'Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie - The
Most people who had only been hitched a fortnight would no
doubt be bursting to broadcast news of their nuptials, but
Angelina Jolie, one half of the movie world's latest set of
newly-weds, slips her betrothal to Hackers co-start Johnny
Lee Miller into the conversation as casually as one might
request an extra sugar in their coffee.
"We got married two weeks ago," she tells your taken aback
reporter, "and no, we didn't have a big white wedding, we
had a small black wedding..."
As actor relationships go, it's certainly been kept quiet,
although the 20-year-old actress' constant reference to their
sharing of a flat during the film's shoot coupled with Miller's
recent confession to "being involved with an American girl
who lives in LA" and a gold band glittering on Jolie's wedding
ring finger give the game away. And it's certainly not a partnership
without its talents. He, after all, is the fresh-faced, Surrey-born
lad who acquired more than his fair share of "next big thing"
accolades following his performance as the Sean Connery-fixated
junkie Sick Boy in Trainspotting. She is the daughter of Oscar
winner Jon Voight, who enrolled in the Lee Strasberg acting
school at the tender age of 11, and clawed her way into the
limelight via a series of little-seen independent films. He
is charming and softly spoken, to the point of shyness, punctuating
his conversation with subtle witticisms. She is louder of
the two. Perceptive, intelligent and amusing, even in the
face of the jet-lag that accompanied her on this whistle-stop
visit to London.
Now the pair are united onscreen in this month's Hackers,
the film that brought them together. Directed by Backbeat
helmer Iain Softley, Miller and Jolie start as computer-literate
teens caught up in a corporate scam after accidentally hacking
into the system of a giant conglomerate. While the ensuing
events might be a little too heavy on computer lingo for the
average punter, the end result is fast-moving and surprisingly
funny. For both leads it was their first experience of a major
studio picture (for Miller, his first experience of a movie
altogether, having made the film before Trainspotting), and
there was much research to be done.
We had three weeks of learning how to type and rollerblade,"
says Jolie, "and hanging out with the cast, which was heaven
- racing Johnny on rollerblades was a big part of our relationship.
We read a lot about computers and met computer hackers. With
a lot of lines, I didn't know what I was talking about, but
it was fascinating."
For Miller, though, the best part was being transported to
the Big Apple to put much of the action on film.
I would've disappeared into New York if I hadn't been taken
away," he grins. "I wouldn't want to live there but making
a film, you get to see more than you usually would."
Since then there's been Trainspotting, of course ("Danny
Boyle got such a wonderful bunch of people together and the
way he gets the flavor in everyone's mind in rehearsal is
extraordinary"), and a trip to Texas for the Tommy Lee Jones
role in the prequel to the TV hit Lonesome Dove. Which explains
the absence of his recent peroxide blond haircut.
"I had to go back to this for the Western," Miller explains,
indicating his naturally light brown thatch. "There isn't
much bleach in the desert..."
Jolie, meanwhile, will follow up Hackers with lead duties
in the New York-set drama Hell's Kitchen, quite a departure
from the sort of offers that have come her way since playing
the technology whizz kid Acid Burn, a.k.a. Kate.
"I seem to be getting a lot of things pushed my way that
are strong women, but the wrong type of strong women. It's
like people see Hackers and they send me offers to play tough
women with guns, the kind who wear no bra and a little tank
top. I'd like to play strong women who are also very feminine.
The character in Hell's Kitchen is very tough, but she's also
very soft. She ends up pregnant and happy."
Has she ever considered working with her Dad?
"We've thought about it," she says, "but it would depend
on the situation. I know he loves to direct, but for anyone
who has the possibility of their father directing them...
the rebel that was in them when they were 13 would just come
out, the 'I'm not going to listen to you!' attitude."
Although Jolie's parents broke up when she was very young,
Voight couldn't be more supportive of his daughter.
"When I decided to become an actress, he didn't force me,
he knew I wanted to do it on my own. I dropped my name because
it was imported that I was my own person," she explains. "But
now it's great because we can talk on a level few people can
talk to their parents on. Not only can we talk about our work,
but our work is about our emotions, our lives, the games we
play, what goes through our heads."
It was similar family ties that drew Miller towards thespian
matters; both grandfather and father trod the boards, the
latter turning his hand to stage management, and his mother
was involved in production. And, like Jolie, Miller also underwent
something of a name change.
"My name's actually Jonathan without an 'h', but I couldn't
have Jonathoan Miller as a professional name as there's already
a Dr. Jonathan Miller," he recalls, explaing the missing 'h'
from Jonny. "And Jonathan Lee Miller was too close, so I decided
to go for a Country & Western feel. Then I can do what
Laurence Fishburne did and change it back. Or maybe I'll change
my name to Ken Miller..."