How Jon Voight Stays Close to Angelina Jolie and His Grandkids

07/22/2010 at 07:30 AM EDT

How Jon Voight Stays Close to Angelina Jolie and His Grandkids
Jon Voight and Angelina Jolie
Peter Brooker/REX USA
Jon Voight was in proud-papa mode Monday at daughter Angelina Jolie's Salt premiere in Hollywood.

Soon, though, the Oscar-winning actor, 71, will be shipping out to Texas for the new TV show Lonestar, but he says the distance won't put a damper on the relationship he's building with his daughter and grandkids.

"It's hard for me to be away from my grandkids, yes, but I'll stay in touch with them," Voight told PEOPLE at a screening of show's pilot episode at the Paley Center in Los Angeles. "Thank god we have this technology, and you know, we use all of it."

Specifically, Voight means Skype – and he plans to use it to chat with Jolie, Brad Pitt and their kids. "We're just setting it up now," the actor says. "Anyway, I love being in touch with the family."

Watching Jolie

As for Jolie, with whom he had a famously fraught relationship, watching her in action in Salt was thrilling for Voight, who thought she elevated the action flick into something more gripping.

"Her work is terrific," he says. "And Angie, for some reason, has this emotional capacity to make every piece of this really authentic, 'cause it's really unreal stuff that they're doing. But that's the genre and she gives … another energy to it."

"She's very, very good," he says. "It's not like a novelty. She's really doing it."

One thing he admires about his daughter on screen: her versatility. "She's a really talented person with a very wide range and lots of interests," Voight says.

"It's interesting to talk to her about why she made the decision to this movie … She was nursing two babies at the time that she decided to do this role."

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