Angelina Jolie Makes You Forget “Salt” Originally Targeted Tom Cruise

After watching the breakneck speed and Angelina Jolie's non-stop action in the thriller "Salt," you might forget that there ever was a casting crisis moment in the movie's creation.

Director Phillip Noyce recalled that in the original screen treatment, CIA agent Salt was actually Edwin A. Salt and originally slated to be played by Tom Cruise.

"Tom was flirting with the part, and we just couldn't pin him down," Noyce said Monday night. "Eventually he did 'Knight and Day' instead."

The comment brought out jeers from the rowdy crowd at the first "Salt" print screening at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Gauging the raw enthusiasm for "Salt" as we head into opening weekend on Friday and the unimpressive box office results of "Knight," Cruise might be regretting the choice at this point.

Noyce recalled that Sony Pictures honcho Amy Pascal was the first to suggest Jolie in the part.

"It seemed for like 15 seconds to be an outrageous idea and then I realized how fantastic it was," said Noyce.

Edwin became Evelyn Salt. Noyce said there were small changes in the screenplay after the gender change. Ironically the biggest was that Jolie did not think her CIA agent character would have had kids. So the most famous multi-cultural mother in the world killed off the family in the screenplay.

"The final act of the original movie was devoted to Edwin A. Salt saving his wife and kid," said Noyce. "But that was so expected and Angie didn't want to have a kid (in the movie)."

"She thought she wouldn't have a child if she was that character to put the child in such jeopardy."

Lost family aside, the movie-makers never skipped a beat and neither does "Salt." There is hardly time to breath between the action and Jolie is utterly convincing in this popcorn spy-thriller.

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