In her decade-long film career, Angelina Jolie has won an Oscar playing a sociopath and hit box-office gold playing a tomb raider.
In the new thriller "Taking Lives," Jolie is Special Agent Illeana Scott, an FBI profiler hot on the trail of a serial killer.
She tells The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith, "The great thing about this film is it's a script I read a while ago, a great thriller. You think you know what's going to happen and it's really smart. It's a really full, proper film, not just a scary thriller."
To prepare for the role, she met with a lot of profilers. In one of the first scenes from the film, she actually lies in a grave to absorb what went on there.
About profilers, Jolie says, "They sense everything. They run on what they can feel and what they can smell and they often are haunted people that taste and live in this world where their senses are exposed so they can figure out what's happening."
In the movie, the one person who can help her find the killer is local art dealer James Costa (Ethan Hawke), who says he saw the face of the murderer. Scott convinces Costa, the serial killer's next target, to be the bait to capture the mad man. But as Scott gets closer to the killer, she finds the case is becoming chillingly personal.
When she's not acting, Jolie spends her time and money doing refugee work for the United Nations. Asked what motivates her, she says, "I found myself in a country where I started traveling. I started to realize there was so much about the world I knew nothing about. It wasn't taught in school. There were so many things I should be more in tune to, more aware of. And I started to pay more attention and just was shocked and horrified, especially by the refugee situation, that people could be forced to flee their homes and the masses of people, 20 million people today."
Unlike some other celebrities who get their pictures taken on the plane and then disappear, Jolie stays and works with the refugees, something she considers a blessing.
"I'm not an aid worker and they love it there," she says. "I come in and out. It does more for my heart and soul than I can ever imagine, giving back. I love being around those people. They're strong people, wonderful, beautiful people - great families. They've taught me so much about life, so it's never been a sacrifice."
Some Facts About Angelina Jolie Born Angelina Jolie Voight in Los Angeles, Calif., on June 4, 1975.Jolie is the daughter of actors Jon Voight and Marcheline Bertrand.Jolie began studying acting at age 11 at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute in New York.Jolie, who once had youthful ambitions to be a funeral director, was a professional model and actress in music videos.Jolie made her screen debut in the 1982 release of "Lookin' to Get Out."After acting in some student films, Jolie starred in the direct-to-video release of "Cyborg II: Glass Shadows" in 1993.In 1995, Jolie played a computer genius in "Hackers."In 1996, Jolie starred in "Foxfire," where she played a mysterious outsider who helps some other teenaged girls stand up for their rights; she also co-starred in the romantic comedy-drama "Love Is All There Is"; the actress played a drug-addicted teen in the suspense drama "Without Evidence"; and she starred opposite Danny Aiello in "Mojave Moon."In 1997, Jolie played a woman torn between her gangster boyfriend (Timothy Hutton) and a discredited doctor (David Duchovny) in "Playing God." Jolie's television work included the 1997 CBS historical miniseries "True Women," playing Cornelia Wallace, the politician's first wife, in the biographical TNT miniseries "George Wallace," and starring as AIDS-stricken model Gia Carangi in 1998 HBO's "Gia."In 1998, Jolie co-starred with Ryan Phillippe, Gena Rowlands and Sean Connery in "Playing By Heart."In 1999, Jolie co-starred with John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton in Mike Newell's New York-set comedy about air traffic controllers, "Pushing Tin"; the actress also played a tough detective assisting a quadriplegic colleague (Denzel Washington) in the crime thriller "The Bone Collector"; and she co-starred in "Girl, Interrupted", which resulted in an Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress.In 2000, Jolie co-starred with Nicolas Cage in the car-chase movie "Gone in 60 Seconds."In 2001, Jolie starred in the video game-inspired "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider"; she also co-starred with Antonio Banderas in "Original Sin."In 2002, Jolie played a superficial newscaster forced to examine her existence in "Life or Something Like It."In 2003, Jolie returned to her Lara Croft role in "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life." Jolie's future projects include "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" with Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow, and Oliver Stone's epic "Alexander." Jolie is currently working on "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," co-starring Brad Pitt, and will lend her voice to the animated feature "Shark Tale."