Press junket turns into ‘Mighty’ spin

Jolie strict about interviews at premiere

While promoting a movie about the importance of a free press, Angelina Jolie’s camp apparently didn’t want the press to be quite so free.

That was the take-away, at least, from the star’s media-saturated twirl through Gotham last week for the preem of “A Mighty Heart,” in which Jolie plays the widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

While agreements have long been made in junket settings regarding the scope of interviews, especially to shield big stars, journos on a press day after the June 13 preem bristled at the tone of a detailed contract pushed by Jolie’s camp.

Those seeking to interview Jolie about the film had to agree not to ask personal questions or use the material “in a manner that is disparaging, demeaning, or derogatory to Ms. Jolie.” Violators could have their tape recorders confiscated and could even be sued, the agreement warned.

And then there was the tasty irony that the preem was co-hosted by Reporters Without Borders, a group that “defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job.”

Outlets like the AP and USA Today reportedly refused to sign.

Paramount Vantage, which is releasing the film, says Jolie was not aware of the language in the contract until June 14. Upon reading it, she raised objections to her lawyer, Robert Offer, who rescinded it and has since apologized.

A studio spokes-woman noted that the star has been “incredibly candid” during interviews for Esquire, Parade and Glamour and with TV’s Larry King and Jon Stewart, but faces 24/7 scrutiny from celebrity tabloids and paparazzi. Thus, the contract “is a byproduct of the kind of journalism she has to deal with.”

(Dade Hayes contributed to this report.)

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