A little salt, a little hair bleach and a whole lotta blood. Val Kilmer’s drug-ravaged mind trip “The Salton Sea,” blond-dome-sporting Angelina Jolie’s “Life or Something Like It” and “Jason X,” the 10th installment in the seemingly never-ending “Friday the 13th” slasher series, all hit theaters this weekend.
Jolie won an Oscar for her intense performance in “Girl, Interrupted” and is known for selecting dark and dramatic roles, as well as for her off-screen marriage to similarly edgy actor Billy Bob Thornton. Surprisingly, “Life or Something Like It” is a light-hearted comedy about a news anchor whose shallow lifestyle is transformed when a psychic tells her that she’ll be dead in less than a week.
The actress sports a bouncy blond bob in the movie, as much a departure from the jet-black-haired actress’ famous look as the film’s character is from her public persona.
“It was partly a wig, it was partly my hair,” she explained. “So I had this odd skunk kind of thing and then if I clipped it up I had horns … We’d wipe the stuff off and clear my tattoos and I’d have my horns … It was great.”
Jolie admitted that she was a bit apprehensive about switching gears for the part.
“I was really nervous,” she said. “I was nervous, but it was also great to get a chance to do something [I’ve] never done before. The studio was a bit scared at first, I think. You know, they weren’t really sure of me in a comedy. And especially when I showed up with my idea of what she looked like, I think they were really terrified. But it’s funny because it is a comedy for me. And I know I usually play darker people, but to me she is the most evil the darkest, the most disturbed person I have ever played. She’s terrifying.”
Jolie, who also sings in one of the movie’s scenes, ultimately ended up so into her role that it bordered on method acting.
“When I’m working I tend to fall into character,” she explained. “So you have to ask Billy about some of the clothes I bought during the time, with the high heels … People said my personality on the phone was very strange.”
There was hopefully no method acting involved with making “The Salton Sea,” as its central story involves a whole lotta drugs. “The Salton Sea” stars Val Kilmer, Vincent D’Onofrio and Adam Goldberg. After his wife is murdered, Kilmer’s character is set adrift in a surreal world of narcotics, dealers and undercover cops. The film also features an appearance by Buckcherry screamer Josh Todd.
Speaking of screaming, expect to hear plenty of it during “Jason X,” the less-than-cleverly-titled 10th “Friday the 13th” movie which sees penultimate slasher Jason Vorhees thawed out aboard a futuristic spaceship full of teens. The movie is said to mix up the series’ standard moments with a bit of “Alien” and a heavy dose of sharp humor. The teen horror genre itself was resuscitated just under a decade ago, getting a swift kick in the pants from the hip and smart “Scream” and “I Know What You Did Last Summer” franchises.
Jason made his first big screen appearance in 1980’s original “Friday the 13th” but didn’t don his signature hockey mask until “Friday the 13th Part 3: 3-D,” incidentally the highest grossing 3-D film ever at the time. Jason was killed “for the last time” in 1984’s “final chapter” (which featured Corey Feldman!) and again in the series’ ninth installment, 1993’s “Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday.” The closing shot in that film of “A Nightmare on Elm Street” killer Freddy Krueger’s glove grasping for Jason’s mask as he descends into their netherworld was a less-than-subtle set-up for the long discussed “Freddy Vs. Jason” movie which has yet to pass the development stage. It’s unclear where “Jason X” falls into the series’ “continuity.”
All three of these films will duke it out with “The Scorpion King,” still the country’s #1 movie (see “Movie House: Rating The Rock As ’The Scorpion King’ “ ). The Rock’s “Mummy” offshoot took in $36.2 million last weekend, ousting 1999’s “The Matrix” to become the biggest April opening in history.