Angelina Jolie had to develop a new set of skills to play a wilderness survival expert and veteran smokejumper in the new drama “Those Who Wish Me Dead”.

“I could make a fire, but wood-chopping was, uh, was not my thing,” she laughs. “It is now!”

The Academy Award-winning actress tells ET Canada she and her co-stars got “roughed up” while filming the action-packed drama about a young murder witness on the run from assassins in the wilderness while a raging wildfire threatens to consume everything in its path. Despite the action, Jolie says it’s the emotional nature of the characters that appealed to her.

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“Just to be in this world, in this kind of real-world — with it not being superheroes and fantasy, but with real people,” she explains. “And all of our characters were broken people, emotional people, but pulling through.

“I think that’s what makes people really tough, is when they can do that. We all got nice and dirty and roughed up through this.”

Jolie was impressed by her young co-star Finn Little, 14, who plays the murder witness in the film. Working with the teen had Jolie reflecting on her own early acting gigs.

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“It certainly did take me back to when you’re young, and you’re discovering what you have inside — the tools you have — and whether you can access these emotions when you need to, if you can pull them up when you want to,” she explains, praising Little, who, she says, was so good, he didn’t need any acting advice from her. “I could see him, you know, stretching. I just could see a very authentic person and actor. So I didn’t have to tell him anything, but I was excited to see it.”