When I was purchasing my iTouch, the girl at the counter mentioned Angelina Jolie had been in town. She was meeting with people to film a movie about Bosnia.
For a few minutes, the girl spoke of her disapproval about the film, saying she didn’t think it was right for Jolie to make a movie about the war.
“It is too soon,” she explained. “And there are other things we would rather her make a movie about than the war.”
I went back to SA and messaged Abby, who runs a celeb news agency, sharing the gossip I had just heard.
“Get out there!” Abby had written. “Go get the story.”
I didn’t have a clue where to start.
“Go back to the Apple store,” she instructed. “Find out where the five-star hotels are and go see if she was there. Talk to people about the movie she is filming. Find out what she did while she was here. Go!”
So, I quickly did my hair, put on my big sunglasses and donned a flowing flower maxi dress to look less Backpacker Chic, grabbed my laptop and a notebook and headed back out into the city, intent on getting the story.
Only I felt like an ass.
The only five-star hotel in town, stood before me, completely redone after the war.
I can’t do this. I can’t pretend to be some crazy fan asking to get the scoop on what Jolie did while she was there.
“Excuse me,” I said timidly, approaching the swanky front desk of the hotel. “I have a question, and it may seem kinda silly …”
“Yes,” the tall man at the desk said, glaring at me.
“Did Angelina Jolie stay here last night?”
“Um … do you know where she did stay?”
Another dead end.
“Do you know what she was doing while she was here?”
“She was meeting with people to talk about filming a movie. She was looking at tanks.”
“Great,” I said, smiling. “Thanks so much.”
I spun on my heels and back outside, intent on finding out where she stayed and needing to get more confirmation that she was here.
I stopped at the bar across the street and talked to a guy sitting at a high top, essentially having the same conversation, except he asked me to please tell Jolie he said hello.
Right. Like I have ever, or would ever, meet her.
I went inside and asked the bartender if he could tell me where she was staying.
I went to another bar. And another. I asked police officers on guard.
Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.
Then, I made my way back to the Apple store, knowing the girl would have the information I needed.
Closed. Locked. Not open until Monday.
Defeated, I went to a cafe, ordered a Coke Light, and messaged Abby with the info I had.
“Go and talk to people about how they feel about the film,” she said. “Get whatever information you can.”
Ask them about the war? And how they feel about Angelina making a movie about it?
It didn’t feel right. I had heard from other travelers that bringing up the war isn’t something that is done. It’s not PC. And, suddenly, I needed to go up to strangers and ask them flat out how they felt about a film being made about just that.
But, I did it.
If they don’t want to talk about it, they don’t have to.
A funny thing happened that conflicted everything I had ever been told about broaching the subject — every single person I talked to was more than willing to talk about the war. In fact, they could have talked about it for hours.
Each person I spoke with offered me a seat, a drink, and chatted on and on about their city with such pride and admiration. They spoke of the war, the struggles they endured. They spoke about the beauty of the country and how much they loved where they were.
And, of course, the spoke about Angelina.
“If she wants to make a movie about the war, then it is a good thing,” one 20-something Sarajevo girl said. “It can help people to understand what we went through.”
At the end of the day I was hot, tired but filled with hope. Not for getting the story — there wasn’t one there after all — but for the people of Sarajevo and their determination to stand up together and show the world just how strong they are. And will be.
Here’s to hoping Jolie can convey that in her film.