Salt is an upcoming American action thriller film directed by Phillip Noyce, written by Kurt Wimmer and Brian Helgeland, and starring Angelina Jolie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Liev Schreiber. While Tom Cruise was initially secured for the lead, he was unable to commit to the role because of commitments to other projects, the script was ultimately rewritten for Jolie. Jolie plays Evelyn Salt, accused of being a KGBsleeper agent, on the run to try to clear her name.
Filming took place on location in Washington, DC and New York City between March and June 2009. During filming, Jolie suffered a minor head injury while shooting an action scene and was taken to hospital as a “precautionary measure”, but was released the same day with no life-threatening injuries and filming was resumed. It is scheduled to be released in North America on July 23, 2010 and August 20, 2010 in the United Kingdom.
CIA officer Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) goes on the run to try to clear her name after being accused by a defector of being a KGB sleeper agent plotting to assasinate the President of the United States.
Development and casting
In 2007 it was reported that Terry George and Peter Berg would direct, but both dropped out for undisclosed reasons. A year later it was confirmed that Phillip Noyce would direct. In 2007, Tom Cruise had been approached by Noyce to play “Edwin A. Salt” from the script written by Kurt Wimmer. Cruise was unable to commit to the script because of other commitments to projects and feared that the character was too close to his Mission Impossible character Ethan Hunt. The filmmakers tried to differentiate the character from Hunt, but eventually came to accept they were too similar and decided not to change the characteristics of Salt. Noyce said “But, you know, he had a valid point. It was kind of returning to an offshoot of a character that he’d already played. It’s like playing the brother, or the cousin, of somebody that you played in another movie”.
Columbia Pictures executive Amy Pascal suggested Angelina Jolie to Noyce, who had often spoken to Jolie in the past about a desire to create a female spy franchise. Jolie was sent the script in September of that year and liked it. Wimmer, Noyce, and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura went to visit Jolie at her home in France to discuss a possible script and character change. Writer Brian Helgeland helped with the character development and dialogue of the script based on the notes that came out of those discussions with Jolie and to accompany the gender change, the title character’s name was changed to “Evelyn Salt”. When asked if the script written for Cruise was the same for Jolie, he said “I think that it’s just been a continual process, obviously accelerating by changing the central character. But the ideas – the locomotive of ideas that drive the movie are the same. An undercover CIA operative is accused of being a Russian mole, and has to go on the run to defend themselves. That’s been the same since day one. The tone of the film has changed in this evolution. In the same way, I guess, as – you know – action thrillers have changed along the lines of the Bond films and the Bourne films”.
On February 19, 2009 it was confirmed that Liev Schreiber would play the role of Ted Winter, Evelyn Salt’s friend and colleague in the CIA. Three days later Variety reported that Chiwetel Ejiofor would play Peabody, “a young CIA agent who works for Winter, the mentor of Evelyn Salt, an agent fingered as a Russian sleeper spy. With Peabody in hot pursuit, she must clear her name and figure out the identity of the real spy”.
Principal photography took place mostly on location in New York and Washington, DC from March to June 2009, while re-shoots were done in December 2009. Filming for a chase sequence took place in Albany on Water Street near the Interstate 787 ramp between April and May. Jolie spent time training before filming to perform a lot of her stunts herself. Bonaventura said “She is so prepared and so ready and gung-ho, she’ll do any stunt. We had her jumping out of helicopters, shooting, jumping off of all sorts of things and infiltrating places that are impossible to infiltrate”. On May 29 filming was temporarily halted after Jolie suffered a minor head injury during filming an action scene. She was taken to hospital as a “precautionary measure” and was released the same day with no life-threatening injuries and filming was resumed that day.
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