Can Angelina Jolie still shoot in Bosnia?
On Thursday, Web reports said that Jolie, who has written and is directing the indie-film project set against the backdrop of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, had been banned from shooting in Bosnia and Herzegovina because she had not received approval for a script.
Reached Thursday afternoon, Geyer Kosinski, Jolie's manager and a producer on the film, refuted the report. "It's absolutely incorrect," he told 24 Frames. "She's been shooting there for three weeks and she's continuing to do so."
The script-approval issue had been misinterpreted, he said. An initial approval by the Bosnian government still stood; it was simply a second request, recently submitted to seek permission to shoot in a particular region of the country, that was under review, with no decision made yet.
Graham King's GK Films, also a producer on the film, later issued a statement echoing Kosinski's comments.
"As a purely technical matter, we are obliged to reapply for the permit to shoot Angelina Jolie's directorial debut with the appropriate government offices in Sarajevo now that the final script is available," he said. “The stories about the film which have recently been circulated are incorrect."
But a BBC story later in the day cited Bosnian Culture Minister Gavrilo Grahovac as saying that Jolie was not allowed to shoot in the country because she had not submitted a "final screenplay" in conjunction with her request for a permit. It was unclear if any immediate action was taken to halt or prevent production.
Jolie faces a potential backlash over an alleged element in the script that involves not only a Bosnian-Serbian romance but a romantic entanglement between a rapist and his victim. At least one women's rights group had protested the storyline, though Kosinski said he did not believe any group had gotten a firsthand look at any script.
Kosinski declined to offer specifics about the plot, but did point to what he said was Jolie's fierce interest in authenticity, citing her extensive research for the script and her decision to use an all-local cast.
Jolie later issued a statement herself seeking to dispel the controversy. "Obviously any dramatic interpretation will always fail those who have had a real experience. This is not a documentary," she said. "There are many twists in the plot that address the sensitive nature of the relationship between the main characters and that will be revealed once the film is released. My hope is that people will hold judgment until they have seen the film. "
A consortium of independent entities are financing the film, which is not set up with a studio and does not yet have theatrical distribution. Jolie has also been shooting elsewhere in Eastern and Central Europe.
-- Steven Zeitchik
Photo: Angelina Jolie in 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith.' Credit: 20th Century Fox