You may know that Angelina's part in Salt was written for Tom Cruise. But as As Jay A. Fernandez writes: "No actress in Hollywood history has been able to chisel out the supremacy Jolie has in a male-dominated genre."
Angelina is not the only woman to succeed in action films: Sigourney Weaver kicked ass in Alien; Linda Hamilton put on a gun show in Terminator 2; Kate Beckinsale and Milla Jovovich battled vampires and zombies in Underworld and Resident Evil. But Angelina's certainly made the most; according to Fernandez, "In the past 10 years, she has starred in five action-dominated films that have averaged $124 million in domestic grosses. Worldwide, those grosses total nearly $1.5 billion."
But here's what's bizarre: Angelina is totally believable firing a rifle from the hood of a speeding car, but not as a magazine editor plotting to lose a guy in ten days. Fernandez asks why Angelina can't do romcoms:
"She's too strong, she's too forceful," says Hollywood historian David Thomson ("Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles"). "And that's not just her screen character. It's her public character, too. She's not got that sort of availability for romance. She isn't really sentimentally appealing. She needs to be doing strong things — crazy things, sometimes — to work on screen."
Angelina, is, of course, involved in a fairly notorious romance. But it's interesting that for us to accept her in gun-toting masculine roles (Tomb Raider, Wanted) we have to reject her as a "feminine" character. Actresses around the same age as Angelina (born in 1975) include Amy Adams, Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Isla Fisher, Reese Witherspoon and Katherine Heigl. The Queens Of The Chick Flicks. Only Drew Barrymore — who tackled both Never Been Kissed and Charlie's Angels (not to mention Firestarter!) comes close to straddling action and romance — in other words, both "male" and "female" genres.
It's not that we want or need Angelina to do a romcom. The universe is a much better place with her sneering, running, jumping, doing her own stunts and gunning down fools. But doens't calling her "too forceful" imply that love is for the weak? Don't we all have a little bit of a swooning romantic in us as well as a smidge of ass-kicker? And what the hell does it mean to be "too strong" for romance?