Stephen Galloway's upcoming biography of former Paramount studio head Sherry Lansing, "Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker," reveals how jittery everyone was to work with the actress, who was still in her wild child, Billy Bob Thornton and vial-of-blood days in 2000.
THR ran excerpts from the book, including this quote from director Simon West about Jolie: "She definitely had some baggage and something of a dark reputation. Funnily enough, that was one of my selling points: This troubled and dangerous aspect in her reputation actually helped the character."
Jolie wanted to do the movie and actually volunteered to be tested for drugs, according to West: "She said, ''Look, I want to do it, but I know what my reputation is, and I'll do anything you want to prove that I'm worthy. I'll be reliable, and I'll turn up, and I'll work hard. She said, 'I don't care if the studio wants to drug test me every day.'"
Then-Paramount president John Goldwyn recalls: "We were sufficiently worried that we obliged her to undergo random drug tests — and not just urine tests but also blood tests." She passed the tests, but the studio was convinced she also needed some "spiritual and psychological support."
That's when they brought in a wacky guru who just made things worse. Producer Larry Gordon recalls: "Simon West comes with this guy, Bobby Klein. He's dressed all in black. He's a weird-looking guy with a white beard and white hair. He's very esoteric and gives me a thing that if you wear it, you can't get cancer, some bulls**t thing."
Klein, who recommended "milk baths and meditation" for Jolie, was eventually fired after allegedly sexually harassing West's assistant and bringing in a health expert who was being investigated by Scotland Yard.
With the gonzo guru gone, filming went on without a hitch, apart from Jolie injuring her ankle.