“I didn’t know if I had more to offer”: Angelina Jolie’s Role in ‘Gia’ Pushed Her To the Limits, Reflected $160M Actor’s Own Dark Origins
Angelina Jolie’s career portfolio is stashed with numerous box-office hits and Academy Award-winning spectacles. Ironically enough, it was one of these victories that made the actress question practically everything she’d achieved, leaving her feeling agonizingly vulnerable.
Gia, the film in question, which also happened to be Jolie’s breakthrough role, made her come face to face with her own unsavory past that she was itching to forget. And things escalated to such an extreme that it drove Jolie to the point of wanting to call it quits before her career even truly began.
Gia (1998) – Angelina Jolie’s Best & Worst ExperienceDirected by Michael Cristofer, Gia is a biographical drama starring Angelina Jolie as Gia Carangi, an American model who was deemed the world’s first supermodel. Based on the tragic life of Carangi, the HBO film depicted the dark and brutal depths of the fashion industry that often gets shrouded by its dazzling glamor. While the biopic was met with immense praise and even went on to bag several accolades, including two Golden Globes and a Primetime Emmy Award, it transpired as a nightmare for Jolie.
Before dipping her toes in the vast ocean of the film industry, Jolie, 47, kickstarted her career as a model. And given her own background of modeling which consisted of various plights that she’d rather not remember, the Maleficent actress had been reluctant to take over Carangi’s role in the movie.
“I tried modeling when I was 14 and failed miserably. Like Gia, I was a bit of a dirty punk, but it was interesting to clean up and start feeling like a girl. I was told I had all these problems I needed to fix. I was told to lose weight, and I was thin already. They actually put me in a room in a bathing suit and measured every part of me. I felt terrible.”
Not only that, but Jolie was also concerned that the project would end up romanticizing a story that in reality was painfully dire. “I didn’t trust that they would deal with drugs and AIDS in the right way,” she told the NY Times. “I was worried that they were going to make it a pretty story.”
How Gia Made Angelina Jolie Want to Sever Ties With ActingEvery other actor with a prolific Hollywood career always has this one project that hits a little too close to home, making them confront their own trauma and pushing them to face the dark parts of themselves that they keep hidden. For Jolie, it was the biography of Gia Carangi.
While the film served as a catalyst for Jolie’s overall stardom and garnered her substantial recognition as an actress, the Mr. & Mrs. Smith star fretted that she’d irrevocably exposed herself in front of the whole wide world. And that made her want to quit the film industry altogether.
“[I was] ambivalent about acting after it because I felt like I’d exposed so much, and I felt quite vulnerable after it. I just didn’t know if I had much more to offer because I had to learn about life more. I needed to kind of grow up and feel like I had more to put out there. And I was just feeling very vulnerable.”
The filmmaker and humanitarian also admitted that she feared meeting the same tragic fate that Carangi did, if she failed to be cautious enough, that is. And though Jolie has encountered multiple obstacles in her career, and grave ones at that, she has only resurged stronger on the other side.
Gia can be streamed on HBO Max.