CRUISE: Hi! So glad you could make it!
JOLIE: No problem! I love this place [the Chateau Marmont]. Have you done something to your hair? It looks so shiny!
CRUISE: Thanks! My mom is letting me use Redken now. She was worried about all the chemicals but then I had her try my shampoo, which is this fruit thing made by some Victoria’s Secret model, and she realized that there is a good reason why there are chemicals in everything we put on and in our bodies.
JOLIE: So true.
CRUISE: What about you? You look great. Your nose!
JOLIE: What about it?
CRUISE: It’s getting so small!
JOLIE: It is? I haven’t done anything. I’m too busy. You know, the kids.
CRUISE: I don’t know, there is a distinct slimming of the bone happening since I last saw you. The tip is more refined.
JOLIE: Thank you! But I think it’s just all the stress of making my movie in Bosnia. Have you had a chance to see it yet? I sent you a DVD.
CRUISE: My mom wouldn’t let me watch it. But she watched it though! She said it was very… ceberable.
JOLIE: Cerebral. Well that’s great! I’m so flattered. How is your mom?
CRUISE: She’s good. She fears for my life every day, but otherwise she’s good.
JOLIE: (Laughs.) What do you mean?
CRUISE: Just, you know, that I’m a moving target, that I’m the prey of every pedophile that ever walked this earth, that I’m destined for drug addiction at ten and prostitution at 11 and an Oscar at 14.
JOLIE: Sounds like she could use a break. I should give her the number of my friend Bill [Gates]. He has this castle, it’s great, it’s surrounded by a moat, and the moat even has its own moat, and then outside the moat is this invisible radioactive shield, and outside that there is another moat, and then a very high wall that looks like it’s made of old stones from the medieval era, but they’re really made of metal and some of them are UAVs and some of them have cameras in them. She would love it. And you would too! There is an amusement park and a life-size version of the game Clue, and all these iPads. There is actually a room called the iPad Room.
CRUISE: No way! But isn’t he… the head of Microsoft?
JOLIE: Yeah! And boxed sets of every reality show you could ever want to watch. Bill is a complete TV addict. And a Clue addict. He’ll have one of his household staff pretend to be murdered and everything.
CRUISE: I’ve heard about this place! This is where my mom and dad took their honeymoon I think! I wasn’t allowed to come. I was kept in an incubator.
JOLIE: Really. But weren’t you like, crawling at that point?
CRUISE: Yes, crawling, crawling always to danger, always to the precipice of reasonableness and safety, dangling off a cliff by one finger, waiting to fall into a pit of heathens and pestilence and Paul Haggis. So you like reality TV?
JOLIE: I do, I do. It’s something I never talk about in the media because it’s just — not in keeping with the story about me that they want to tell.
CRUISE: Strange that you’d want them to keep telling the story that they want to tell, and not the one you want to tell.
JOLIE: It’s a nice story they’ve got!
CRUISE: It’s true. But tell me the real story. Tell me who you are. What’s a typical day for you?
JOLIE: You know, every day is different, but beautiful! One day at a time, I say to the kids. I’ve got my iCal system, with the color-coded calendars for each child, and I’ve got an entirely different app that I use for Brad-related events, because I think it’s very important to keep the relationship, keep the love, sacred, you know? Well of course you don’t. But the point is I’ve got this crazy system, and it’s really just about juggling the things that are most important to me: television, travel, Brad, red carpet appearances, and my children. Not in that order. Well, actually. Hmm, maybe in that order. The order is always changing. But these are my planets, and they orbit around me, and you know, it works. For the most part, it works.
CRUISE: What’s your favorite animal?
JOLIE: Um…Well, I like cats.
JOLIE: I like horses. What do you like?
CRUISE: I like this fictional animal that the Master writes about in Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health.
JOLIE: Uh —
CRUISE: It’s called a zarinotta, and it’s like part zebra, part shallow, sinful human being, and the zarinotta is constantly trying to overcome its diabolical urges and just be a zebra, you know? And we think the Master chose the zebra because of the stripes: how the zebra is both black and white, light and dark, already this perfect combination of the bad and the good of the animal kingdom.
CRUISE: Zarinottas are so cute!
JOLIE: I can’t imagine a half-zebra, half-man being all that cute.
CRUISE: Well it doesn’t really look like either of those things. It’s more like a mermaid with really big boobies. And stripes and devil horns!
JOLIE: Wow. I hope this isn’t a stupid question, but zebras are like the ultimate prey, you know? They can’t camouflage. They are just standing there, like a hideous chair in an otherwise nicely decorated home, sticking out in the yellow savannah going, EAT ME. COME GET ME. You know? Why do you think L. Ron Hubbard chose them, of all the animals he could choose?
CRUISE: There’s a lot more to the zebra than that description. I mean, they can see really well. So actually they don’t all just get eaten the minute a cheetah decides it wants to eat them. Also, the mommies live in a big pack with their babies and the daddies just show up sometimes when they feel like it. I think this is how the Master sees us humans, ultimately. Wild and free, yet constantly in danger, yet very good with our eyes, and gender-segregated, with the men privately doing whatever they want and then hanging out with the ladies from time to time. I learned this last week during my auditing.
JOLIE: You do auditing? You’re seven!
CRUISE: Everyone has things about themselves that they want to improve upon. Don’t you think?
JOLIE: Um, yeah, but I tend to do it in different ways.
CRUISE: Like what ways? You never told me about the rest of your day.
JOLIE: The rest of my day… well, so, the kids go to school. They all go to the same school, wherever we are. In fact, they’re all in the same grade. This is just how we like to do things. Teach them that they’re all equal, you know? And I work for about three hours. I have a meeting with my people, usually remotely, and they tell me what I have to do and where I have to be, and then I’ll read a few pages of a script, chant for a couple of hours, usually when Brad is on the wheel, and —
CRUISE: On the wheel?
JOLIE: Oh, yeah, he’s a potter.
CRUISE: Of course he is.
JOLIE: So then I watch Khloé and Lamar and Pregnant In Heels, or Rachel Zoe and Storage Wars, depending on what time of year it is. And there are always a few other shows that creep in there. Swamp People… but those are my main shows.
CRUISE: Fascinating. Storage Wars. Why?
JOLIE: You know, I find it heartbreaking. All this… STUFF. That we just amass, and it’s just meaningless, or actually, some of it’s meaningful, but people just forget about it, and it’s like a photograph album of their parents and their pets has the same value as an old TV antenna and a thighmaster, and I just find it such a perfectly horrifying expression of modern American society. I mean, can you imagine a show like that happening in like, Mali?
CRUISE: Yeah, I know what you mean. More like Water Wars.
JOLIE: I WOULD TOTALLY WATCH THAT!
CRUISE: ME TOO!
JOLIE: Oh, man, that is so true. Water Wars. You’re smart.
JOLIE: So yeah, I watch some of the worst shows on the air. It’s because of people like me that these shows are still on. There are a lot of us, and we are not proud. But we can’t stop.
CRUISE: It’s interesting, there’s so much reality now that there can only be more reality, you know what I mean?
CRUISE: I mean the sky’s the limit!
JOLIE: I know!
CRUISE: I’m in the wrong part of the business.
JOLIE: Me too.