12/05/2011 12:38 pm ET Updated Feb 04, 2012

Angelina Jolie On 'In The Land Of Blood And Honey,' Authenticity In Serbia

Since Angelina Jolie began filming "In The Land of Blood and Honey," the Oscar-winning actress has consistently pitched one element of her directorial debut: authenticity.

From early controversy over the film that briefly led to her production permit being revoked to this winter's press onslaught, Jolie has made sure to assert, first and foremost, that her film is respectful of its subject: the bloody Yugoslav Wars. In tackling the difficult and tortured love story between a Serb soldier and a Bosnian Muslim woman who ends up in his rape camp, she's made sure to make clear just how closely she's worked with local actors and experts to get it right.

"I wasn't afraid to ask the DP [director of photography]," Jolie tells Newsweek in its new cover story. "And I listened to my cast, most of whom lived through the war. I listened to their stories and tried to incorporate it into the work."

Indeed, her cast did live through the war; Jolie eschewed Hollywood stars for actors local to her Bosnian set. In fact, she didn't just listen to their ideas, she asked them to use their own words, too. The film was shot twice: once in English, and then, in the native of her actors, Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian; the Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian version will be the one to hit theaters in the US.

"We all spoke about every speech and every scene, and made sure it was right and true," Jolie recently told CBS News. "So everybody helped to educate me and we all adjusted the script together."

Her cast also insists that the film is nothing if not authentic.

"The [film shoot] was especially hard for me, as my father fought during the war while I was living with my mom and sister," said Alma Terzich, one of the stars, and who lost many family members in the conflict. “It was a huge responsibility to play the role of a woman surviving in such inhuman conditions... It was my duty to play it truthfully as much as possible.”

Earlier this year, Goran Kostic, one of the film's two leads, professed his respect for the truth in the script.

"All information was hidden," Kostic told Vanity Fair. "It was obvious it was somebody big. You're an actor, you audition, and they don't tell you who it is, you know it's somebody from the top. I had no idea. Nor did I want to speculate. I did what I had to do. Later, when they told us Angelina Jolie wrote the script, I was quite pleasantly surprised to see how she was able to put all of it together."

There is the issue of the lawsuit Jolie is facing, which asserts that she stole the story from a book published in 2007. Regardless of the storyline's origin, though, Jolie certainly has spent a vast amount of time in the region doing humanitarian work, giving her a certain insight to what she wanted to do with the film.

"The people felt as though the world had forgotten them," Jolie said. "It was a time of great pain, and I wanted to depict how courageous people were -- without offending anyone."