There are three men sitting inside a van, parked outside of a Paris apartment. Their cameras are tracking the movements of Angelina Jolie as she walks past a window from room to room. Finally, she appears downstairs at the front door and makes her way down the cobblestone streets as the men scramble to continue following her. Zooming in on her back, the men speculate about whether she is wearing underwear or not. On the street, heads turn and people smile as the beautiful actress arrives at her destination – a nearby café. While this sounds like it could just be another day in the life of Angelina Jolie, it is in fact the opening scene of her new film, The Tourist.

In a collaboration that feels like it was years in the making, Jolie and Johnny Depp have finally come together for director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s second feature film, The Tourist. The plot is a fairly simple one. Elise (Jolie), a beautiful English woman living in Paris, is summoned to Venice by her illusive lover, Alexander Pearce, who is a wanted thief that has gone to great lengths, including $20 million in plastic surgery, to hide from authorities. En route from Paris to Venice, she is to find a decoy that resembles her mystery man and throw off the authorities tailing her. Enter the American tourist, Frank (Depp) – the innocent and unsuspecting nerdy math teacher who fits the profile – who is immediately mesmerized by the seductive woman on the train. Once in Venice, the pair find themselves being chased by Scotland Yard, the Italian police, Interpol and an angry mobster, who all want the same thing: to find Pearce.

At its core, The Tourist is a tribute to beauty. From the stunning scenery of Venice to the perfect casting of two of Hollywood’s most beautiful leading actors, the film has something for everyone: action, comedy, romance and plenty of eye candy.

Now, back in Paris, where the opening scene of the film takes place, Jolie is once again being watched and recorded. But this time, it’s in a pressroom full of writers and reporters.

“It was definitely different for me to be a little more of the traditional girl,” she says about playing Elise. “But I had a lot of fun with her,” which is one element that comes across on screen.

Another is the influence of old cinema. From makeup and wardrobe, to dramatic gestures and reactions, to the humorous play on certain cultural stereotypes, The Tourist manages to borrow from the old while still keeping it new – a juxtaposition that the supporting cast also had a hand in. Timothy Dalton is cleverly cast as the head of the Scotland Yard division tracking down Pearce, while Paul Bettany plays the overly zealous and smarmy agent desperately trying to crack the case.

But for most fans, the driving force of The Tourist is the chance to finally see Jolie and Depp sizzle on the big screen – a task the director was more than happy to undertake. Having Jolie already attached to the project, his first mission was to find a male counterpart whom he felt would not be eclipsed by her, followed by satisfying his own “hunger for more” on-screen Depp. And indeed, the love and mutual respect amongst the cast and director of The Tourist is evident not only in the performances that they deliver, but also the way in which they speak about one another.

When asked if she would want to work with Depp again, a beaming Jolie says, “I would love to work with him again, something that we haven’t done, something different. I like all the extreme character work he does, so maybe he could encourage me to do something a little wacky.”

While on the subject of her personal connection with him, she fondly recalls a family get-together including Brad Pitt and Vanessa Paradis where their “boys ended up playing video games all night while we drank wine and talked. It was just lovely.”

Depp’s praise is no less.

“What I was most impressed by with Angelina, first and foremost, was her kind of normalcy. She’s very down to earth, she’s very smart, she’s very funny and very kind and caring, and a great mommy!”

Depp’s reputation for being a generous and incredibly funny person is only matched by his versatility as an actor with a gift of breathing life into any character he plays. And to hear him tell it, his attraction to extremely ordinary, everyday characters is as deep as to the quirky oddball ones. His portrayal of Frank is no exception. With room for improvisation and adlibs, he reflects on The Tourist as a fun and collaborative effort in which he did his own dance sequence and his own stunts – the former being a bigger challenge than the latter.

As for whether he has taken to finally watching his own films after completion, the incomparable Depp simply states, “I do my best to avoid them at all costs. I would rather swallow a bag of ticks.”

What would it take to change that?

“Probably a few bottles of wine.”

The Tourist releases in theaters Dec. 10.