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Jolie goes Beyond Borders for real world
- New project opens actor's eyes

For Angelina Jolie, Beyond Borders, is beyond an ordinary movie. It is a film project that changed her life and introduced her to the joys of eating fried frogs on a stick.

The romantic adventure about relief workers set against the backdrop of some of the world’s most dangerous political hot spots, opens in the US on Friday. The film script presented to Jolie five years ago opened her eyes to the plight of millions of refugees around the world and set her on a course light years away from her much-publicised wild, reckless days.

The 28-year-old actress, now the single mother of an adopted Cambodian boy, Maddox, will be given the UN Correspondents Association’s Citizen of the World award by UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.

The menu for a UN dinner in her honour did not feature the cuisine Jolie has sampled — and grown fond of — since buying a home in Cambodia to better bond with the two-year-old she calls “Madness.”

“You eat the side of a cow, you eat a bug. I don’t see a huge difference. I like those whole frogs on a stick like a puppet, small and stretched out. With a beer and some beetles and a few crickets, they’re actually quite good.”

Jolie, who won the Oscar as best supporting actress in 2000 for Girl Interrupted, said her life shifted dramatically after first reading the Beyond Borders script. “I was really moved by it,” she said in an interview. “I knew nothing about the subject matter.” The project, originally pitched by director Oliver Stone, met with delays, but Jolie was stirred to action. “When the film didn’t go, I was disappointed. I wanted to take that journey.”

Jolie made arrangements to travel to Sierra Leone where she met the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). She travelled with relief workers to Cambodia and Pakistan the following year and in 2001 was asked by the UNHCR to become its goodwill ambassador. Since then, the actress has visited refugee camps in Namibia, Thailand, Ecuador, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Kosovo, Ingushetia and Congo. After she became a real-life champion for refugee relief causes, the film project was revived with Martin Campbell, director of GoldenEye and The Mask of Zorro at the helm. Jolie said once they began making the film about a socialite drawn into humanitarian work by a charismatic relief doctor played by Clive Owen, she felt it had to be as accurate as possible about conditions in the field. The response so far has been gratifying, she said.

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