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The Forgotten Angelina Jolie Spy Thriller You Can Watch On Amazon Video

Before she became known for her life as a single mom and as a director of arthouse films, Angelina Jolie was one of the biggest action stars in Hollywood. From playing adventurer Lara Croft in the Tomb Raider films to going toe-to-toe with her now-ex Brad Pitt in Mr. and Mrs. Smith (the sequel almost happened. Here's why it got turned down) in the 2000s, Jolie regularly proved that she could win gunfights and jump off buildings with the best of them. Now, in the 2020s, she looks poised to return to the genre thanks to her role in the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe entry The Eternals. Between then and now, there was another Jolie starring action gem that has fallen by the wayside a bit, but which you can revisit thanks to Amazon Prime Video.

2010's Salt saw Jolie starring as a highly skilled CIA operative named Evelyn Salt. When a Russian defector turns himself over to the CIA and warns about the coming of an event called Day X, in which a secret network of Russian sleeper agents in the US will activate and cause chaos, he also tells them that one of those agents works for the CIA. And their name is Evelyn Salt. Aware of the repercussions the man's confession will have, Evelyn goes on the run, claiming it's the only way to clear her name. But what if the defector was right all along, and the CIA agent known as Evelyn Salt isn't who everybody thought she was?

Here's everything you need to know about this propulsive action thriller.

The A-list actor who was originally set to star in Salt

Although in retrospect, Salt feels like the perfect vehicle for Jolie in the early 2010s, she wasn't originally meant to star in the movie. In fact, when the project was in early stages of development, the script was written for a male lead, and Tom Cruise was in talks to play Edwin Salt.

During an interview with Dark Horizons, the director of the film, Phillip Noyce, explained why Cruise ultimately left the project. Noyce said of Cruise, "his main fears were that the character was too close to [his Mission Impossible character] Ethan Hunt, being a rogue spy, with extraordinary abilities."

Noyce said that at first the production tried to alter the character to be less similar to Cruise's Mission Impossible role, but ultimately, "you know, he had a valid point. It was kind of returning to an offshoot of a character that he'd already played."

Bringing on Jolie was a welcome alternative for Noyce, who had worked with her previously. He observed that when they made The Bone Collector in 1999 "she was just finding her feet" as an actress. However, during their collaboration on Salt, he described her as "absolutely in her prime as an actress ...Totally understanding the process of making movies, of telling stories, of reaching out to an audience, in a way that the greats do."

And one of the things that Jolie understood well while making Salt was the importance of doing her own stunts.

Jolie performed many of her own stunts for Salt

It's not surprising that a movie with as many jaw-dropping action sequences as Salt originally attracted Cruise as its star. After all, the guy is always looking to add to the list of action scenes that nearly killed Tom Cruise. When Jolie took over the part, she didn't cut herself any slack.

In a series of production notes released by Sony, Salt's stunt coordinator, Simon Crane, spoke about Jolie's ready, willing, and able attitude when it came to taking on all the physicality that the movie threw at her. In fact, more than just being able to handle the stunts, Crane said, "She was always trying to find or come up with new ways of doing action."

Jolie, who had worked with Crane and his team on previous films, said, "I trust them so much with their rigs and harnesses ... Instead of feeling scared, it's like working with the circus for the day, and you get to play."

She went on to add that the familiarity with Crane helped make everything that much easier, saying, "They know me and they know what I can do, and what I'm not very good at."

What happened to Salt 2?

When Salt was released not only did it get solid reviews from critics, but it also made a healthy chunk of change at the box office (via Box Office Mojo). That is the type of foundation on which action franchises are built, and yet, thus far Salt has been a one-and-done affair — and not for a lack of effort.

A sequel to Salt was in development not long after the film premiered, and even had a script. However, that appears to be where the problems started with the sequel. According to reports, Jolie wasn't a fan of the original Salt 2 script. A new screenwriter, Becky Johnston of Seven Years in Tibet fame, was brought onto the project, but it never progressed much further than that (via Movie Web).

As of 2014, there were reports that Salt 2 had a finished script and was still planning to move forward (via Den of Geek). The sequel hasn't been officially canceled, but considering it has now been over a decade since the original came out, it feels safe to say that the likelihood of Salt 2 materializing is low. It's disappointing to those who hoped to see the movie give rise a new action franchise, but thanks to Amazon Prime Video, we can still enjoy the original.