MR + MRS SMITH director Doug Liman was so bemused by the initial tabloid stories about the alleged romance between co-stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie he suspected movie executives at film studio 20th Century Fox were behind the gossip.

Liman became suspicious when a year-old set of photos of the two actors appeared in the US tabloids just after rumours started speculating about a romance between them.

He says, "I myself accused Fox because a photo surfaced from our set a year later and it was sold to all the tabloids.

"It was like, 'The only people who would wait a year later would be the studio.'"

But Liman, who insists there were no signs that the couple were an item on his film set, was quickly convinced the story was just the tabloids working overtime, trying to explain Pitt's break-up from wife Jennifer Aniston.

He adds, "I honestly believed they (studio executives) weren't (responsible). Nobody's that good.

"If this was manufactured... this would have been, like, a six-month campaign; the number of people that would have had to participate for that never to have gotten out. Nobody's that good."

But the director can understand why Pitt fell for Jolie - if the romance is for real.

He adds, "She's extraordinarily sexual."

27/06/2005 08:50