CANNES, France — Angelina Jolie may be in ultimate ass-kicking mode on the big screen this summer with "Wanted," but when she spoke with MTV News on the French Riviera, she looked more like the world's most famous mom-to-be.

Caressing her stomach, she clearly had motherhood on the brain more than her character in the movie, Fox, the assassin-turned-mentor who favors dramatic gravity-defying action over words in what's sure to be one of this summer's most memorable action flicks. Still, in this rare interview, Jolie remembered well what drew her to the role as well as why "Wanted" co-star James McAvoy will never compare to a certain former co-star with whom she once tussled.

MTV: Though the film is called "Wanted," this is not a story about you and everyone pursuing you — the fans, the paparazzi, et cetera. Correct?

Angelina Jolie: Wouldn't that be a horror movie? [Laughs.]

MTV: You've done your share of action films. Why another one?

Jolie: I was itching to do something that was physical, because I had done some emotional films and I had been at home with the kids. I didn't know that there was anything original out there [until] I came across this script. One, it has a great story. A lot of action movies are kind of lacking in that. It's got a dark sense of humor and it's wild, and the stunts — I knew that they were going to be done in an original way. I knew that the director [Timur Bekmambetov] would do this movie in a way that would make it different than any other action movie.

MTV: This is your first action flick since "Mr. & Mrs. Smith." I would think it's a little different rolling around with James McAvoy than with Brad?

Jolie: Well, you know Brad was ... [Laughs.] I'll always prefer rolling around on the floor with him than any other man. You know, in general. [Laughs.]

MTV: Clearly you have a maternal instinct. Does that come into play at all here, where you are James' mentor?

Jolie: Yeah, she's not the nicest mentor, though. [Laughs.] She's quite a pain in the ass. I suppose there was some irony to the fact that I had done a bunch of action movies and it was James' first, and I was brought in as kind of the one that would lead the way and then watch him become ...

MTV: You are passing the torch.

Jolie: Passing the torch to James.

MTV: Since you're in your elder years, right? All the way in your early 30s.

Jolie: [Laughs.] Yeah, that's right.

MTV: Do you imagine such physical roles will always be a part of your career?

Jolie: I think there's always going to be a side of me ... you know, as long as I can. Harrison [Ford] is doing it, and he's doing it well. It looks like I've got some more time.

MTV: It's been written by more than one person that there is no one sexier with a gun than Angelina Jolie. How do you take something like that?

Jolie: Wow. I'll take it. I like it.

MTV: Is there something sexy about gunplay?

Jolie: Yeah, I mean obviously there's a part of me that takes the world of violence and death very seriously. However, when it comes to protection or when it comes to just the skill of shooting ... I've gone to the range with sniper rifles and things like that. Brad and I both like it a lot. That is something we have in common.

MTV: Did you get any bumps and bruises along the way on this one? Are those badges of honor?

Jolie: Yeah, it's always nice. Like in the train sequence, we had to fall over a lot and wrestle each other. The next morning we were both nicely cut up, feeling cool, wounded and sore.

MTV: And that feeling overwhelms the actual pain?

Jolie: Yeah, it feels good. [Laughs.]

MTV: You show off a lot of tattoos in the film. Are they all yours?

Jolie: No, we added a bunch. I had "toil" and "tears" based on [Winston] Churchill's speech. I had binary codes that are actually my kids' initials. I have "strength of will" in four different languages. "Know your rights" in different languages. It's things like that. Very few people pick up on it, but it was [something I did] for me.

MTV: With all that's going on with your family and your humanitarian work, is it harder to get up and go make a movie now?

Jolie: Yeah, it's not the thing you love the most. I love being a mom and I do love traveling and the work I get to do with children in the field and with refugees. Brad and I take turns working. So instead of it being "I get to work next," it's "You have to work next, because it's your turn. I'm staying home with the kids."

MTV: Are there certain roles that still excite you? "Atlas Shrugged" is one you've been associated with for a while. Is that one?

Jolie: That's one of those, I think, once-in-a-lifetime films that you feel, "If I only do a few more in my lifetime, that has to be one of them."

MTV: Frank Miller has said before that he wanted you for Ava in "Sin City 2." Are you up for that?

Jolie: I don't know. I found the first "Sin City" impressive, but I don't know what they're going to do with the next one to make [it] as original as the first one. I'd be curious. I think he's a genius.

Check out everything we've got on "Wanted."

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