When Daniel Pearl disappeared in early 2002, he was on assignment for The Wall Street Journal in Karachi, Pakistan. He'd left for a meeting with a sheik with links to terrorists, and he never returned.
Pearl's wife, Mariane, was pregnant during the terrible wait for news. She later wrote their story. The book, A Mighty Heart, has now been made into a movie starring Angelina Jolie.
The film follows the investigation of Pearl's abduction through to the bitter end. But it's also a love story, told in flashbacks, with Jolie and Daniel Futterman as the Pearls.
And in flashbacks you learn of Danny and Mariane's great love.
"They are as romantic as you'd hope they would be," Jolie tells Renee Montagne. "There were very, very much seen as a couple who were so tied together, so enjoyed each other's company, shared each other's work, inspired each other — all the wonderful things that you hope to have in your own life ..."
The filmmakers had a problem, Jolie says: How to make the couple not seem so perfect. Another challenge was how to maintain dramatic tension when the audience already knows how the story will end.
"It was helped by the fact that we did not set out to do a murder mystery," Jolie says. "We set out to make a movie about human beings and tolerance and how people suffer through and overcome through very, very difficult times."
The scene in which Mariane learns of her husband's fate — he was beheaded by his captors — was filmed at night. "I tried to be as open as an actor to let all the feelings I have that relate to pain or sorrow or dark thoughts come through me," Jolie recalls. "And just hope that they would."
She was driven, she says, by a debt to Mariane Pearl and others who lived through the ordeal.
"We all individually got to know the people we were playing. And I know very well Mariane and Danny's son Adam, and the thought of him seeing this film and him seeing that moment ... maybe through the way we do this we're going to show this little boy how much his mother loves his father and how great a loss it was."