CANNES, France - Angelina Jolie, who plays the widow of slain Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in "A Mighty Heart," said she was overwhelmed by Mariane Pearl's inner strength and her ability to let go of hatred.
Jolie, Pearl and Brad Pitt, the movie's co-producer, were at the Cannes Film Festival on Monday for the premiere of the movie about Pearl's abduction and murder in Pakistan in 2002 while researching a story on Islamic militants.
The film, shot in a naturalistic documentary style, recounts the search to find Pearl's kidnappers and his widow's struggle to come to terms with his death.
"For me, so much of why this film was important to do is because I highly doubt there is anybody in this room who has more reason to hold hate inside herself than Mariane, and she doesn't," Jolie told reporters.
"That is, I think, a lesson for all of us," the 31-year-old actress said.
The film, directed by Michael Winterbottom, begins on the last day the couple spent together in Pakistan, where they were both on assignment as reporters. Pearl - who was more than five months' pregnant when her husband disappeared - was deeply involved in the search to find him.
Their son, Adam, was born a few months later.
Pearl said her friendship with Jolie grew over the course of the project - an adaptation of her memoir.
"I think about the fact that my son will see the film one day, and this is a great moment of pain for me," Pearl said. "And this role was played by somebody who loves me, and it means a lot to me."
Jolie said her own pregnancy during the movie's preparatory stages helped her understand what Pearl went through.
"I remember being six months pregnant and thinking, `I can't imagine at this time not having the father with me ... and being concerned about his life, and trying to eat and trying to remember to get some sleep and trying to take a deep breath and physically even just moving around,'" Jolie said. "As a woman, it just made me so much more connected to her and aware of her."
Pearl was captured by Islamic militants in January 2002. Despite worldwide pleas for his release, he was beheaded nine days later; video of the killing was posted the Internet.
Dan Futterman plays Pearl in Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Vantage film.