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It’s hard to say who’s more interesting-Lara Croft, intrepid tomb raider who travels the world on spectacular adventures and saves the world or Angelina Jolie-intrepid actress who travels the world on spectacular adventures yet finds time to help save the world. She’s also daughter of famed actor Jon Voight, former wife of actors Jonny Lee Miller and Billy Bob Thornton, a mother, a Academy Award Winner, a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador, and the wild child of the silver screen!

Actually, they're both VERY interesting, and they're also very much alike in more ways than you might think…..

In Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, Lara Croft must find the legendary Pandora’s Box, said to house the most unspeakable evil ever known, before it falls into the wicked hands of the maniacal Nobel-prize winning scientist Dr. Jonathan Reiss (Ciaran Hinds). Her task-to preserve life as we know it by not allowing Reiss to achieve his ultimate goal….world domination. And she does it with dramatic, cutting-edge excitement at every turn.

“If my character is ice cold, ruthless and calculating, her character is vital, passionate and dynamic – all qualities Angelina has herself,” says Hinds. “It’s a given that she always looks stunning. In one scene, when she loomed at me out of the darkness, her beauty actually took my breath away. All that, and the fact that Angelina is warm, funny, gregarious and a fantastic support to all those who have come into the “Tomb Raider” universe, made for a wonderful experience working on the film.”

Being a Tomb Raider is no easy task. You’ve got to be tough. Actress Jolie prepared for the role by embarking on a strenuous routine of gymnastics, weight lifting, bungie jumping, motorcycling, kick boxing, martial arts, weaponry, general fitness training, and for relief, practiced yoga. “Lara is not a stereotype in any way, shape or form,” Jolie says. “Lara Croft is one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever undertaken. I thought at some point, with all the working out, I’d eventually get to where I felt every bit the action hero. But the truth is, it’s very hard to snap into ‘Lara’ mode every day, ready to take on the world.”

Angelina Jolie

Although the studio claims Jolie was anxious to redux her part as Lara Croft, to take the character to greater heights, Jolie had misgivings. “I thought I was definitely not going to do another one because I was unsatisfied with the first one,” she has said. “I had lots of specific things I wanted to have changed. I wanted her (Lara) to have depth of character, to be challenged, to have to make decisions and show what she’s made of. I wanted her to be closer to my body. I wanted her to be more of a real woman, and that’s something that I find sexier, so she’s a little less video vixen and a little more lady and athletic.”

Thus, what Jolie wanted, Jolie got, since as Producer Lloyd Levin said, “We found that what really worked in the first film was obviously Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, so we set out to create a story that gave her more dimension and greater challenges to face.” And when you think about it, how many actresses really could play the part? Says director Jan De Bont, “With Angelina Jolie, who is both talented and daring enough to do her own stunts, we have something really amazing.”

Angelina Jolie

Thus, out with the original Lara’s enlarged boob look, and other things, and in with a much more interesting character. Jolie’s bust line was enhanced in the first film because, as she says “that’s what everyone wanted. We had to do that in the first one. Now we’re able to make it without it,” which suits her just fine. “This one, this is all me, with good, normal undergarments. (Lara) looks sexier now. I like her body better now.” Besides, she adds with a sly smile, “I’m not a fan of extremely large breasts.”

Since every sexy tomb raider must have a love interest, Lara seeks out and finds former agent Terry Sheridan (Gerard Butler), now residing in a vicious Russian prison. They hit it off, but as you might expect, all may not be as it seems between them. “Sheridan has a romantic history with Lara and because of that intimate connection, he complicates her life,” observes Butler. “He’s a dangerous, unpredictable man capable of a lot of damage, and the unmistakable chemistry he has with Lara makes her vulnerable. The whole time they’re together, the audience wonders if he will double cross her. His history leads you to suspect he will, but his fiery connection with Lara makes you want to believe he won’t.”

There is no doubt that this is Angelina Jolie’s film-because she’s got what it takes to pull off the strenuous role! Strength, skill (her hard work certainly paid off here), award winning acting ability, and radiant beauty- plus more, that magic je ne sais quoi that glues an audience’s eyes to the screen. And to give Jolie and Director Jan de Bolt credit, the action is non-stop, yet so is character development; together, the two successfully create a believable woman from a video game heroine. Jolie says, “She’s still curvy and sexy. She’s proportioned. I love flaws, and I love real things, and I love scars and wrinkles I see coming. When you see life on a face or a body, it’s beautiful.”

Tomb Raider took 6 months to shoot, taking cast and crew on a global tour of spectacular and remote locations. Home base for the production was Pinewood Studios, outside London, where the spectacular Luna Temple of Alexander the Great was created. The film actually begins on the white-washed island of Santorini, in Greece, and the action continues in Wales, moves on to Hong Kong and mainland China, and concludes in Kenya and Tanzania in Africa.

There Lara Croft does discover the “Cradle of Life” and the legendary and dangerous Pandora’s Box. And like Pandora, she is sorely tempted to open it. Does she? Would you?

Angelina Jolie

The Life & Times of Angelina Jolie

“I feel like if you’re an actor or an artist and you can stand for something or say you think something is OK, then you should say it. We’re the actors, we’re the court jesters, we’re the weird ones, we’re not supposed to be sane all the time,” says Angelina Jolie, explaining and perhaps defending some of the intriguing choices she has made in her life, both emotional and physical. It would surely be safe to say, those choices haven’t been mainstream thus far, and they have certainly contributed to her reputation as a Hollywood “wild child”.

At age 28, Jolie has been married twice. First to “Trainspotting” star Jonny Lee Miller in 1995, with whom she has “been spending time together in England. We are very, very good friends and we will always be very close.” In the meanwhile, Jolie co-starred with Billy Bob Thornton on the set of 1999’s “Pushing Tin”, a black comedy about the rivalry between two air traffic controllers. Although Thornton was closely linked with Laura Dern at the time, rumors abounded that Thornton and Jolie were perhaps more than just friends.

On May 5, 2000, Jolie and Thornton went public when they wed in a 20 minute ceremony at the “Little Church of the West” in Las Vegas. The couple made no effort to hide their hot and heavy sexual attraction-kissing, tongue-kissing and fondling each other on award show red carpets and other photographer-laden events. Public passion makes for tabloid fodder, as the couple learned, and some of their eccentricities fueled the fire. Tattoing, blood rituals, (they famously wore long silver chains with lockets containing each other’s blood) keeping a pet rat in a cage in the bedroom, were only part of it. It was reported that for their anniversary, Angelina gave Billy Bob a grave plot.

”When you love somebody you tend to be as outspoken as possible to make them feel good. You tell the world that they’re wonderful and you love them, because I wanted to make him happy. It seemed like we were passionately in love,” she says. “And we were but it was a great, wonderful crush that came from fun and friendship. Then we started to do different things with our lives and halfway through our marriage we became very different people with nothing to talk about any more. We just had nothing in common. So it ended.”

Perhaps there was a bit more to it than that-since at the time the tabloids were proclaiming that several women were claiming that they’d been seduced by Thornton, reportedly including his sex-therapist, and closer to home, a maid at the couple’s home who publicly accused Thornton of getting her pregnant. (Thornton has denied this).

In addition, Angelina admits Billy Bob wasn’t that enthusiastic about her adopting Maddox (who she calls Mad), her now two-year old son she adopted in Cambodia, a country that she loves and where she is currently building a home and plans to live for months at a time….hoping that Maddox’s heritage and its gentle Buddhist traditions will be an important part of his life.

Tomb Raider

As she told Barbara Walters recently, “I feel sexier out of my marriage,” she said. “I am much more sensual because I am not somebody else’s wife. I’ve found a new peace in my life. I don’t think I’ll ever get married again. I don’t think I’m meant for marriage. We’re all meant to do different things and I’ve found that I love to travel, I love to feel useful and I want to learn about the world and do good things.”

Charitable CausesCharitable Causes

In that regard, Jolie is acting on her impulse by spending time as a Good Will Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. In that capacity she has traveled to many third-world countries, including Africa, Thailand, and Ecuador, where she is considering the possibility of adopting another child.

Jolie is not just an ambassador, she’s become a philanthropist as well. As she told Rolling Stone, in the last several years she’s given away millions of dollars of her own money. She says she now mentally divides the money she receives into thirds; a third for her life now, a third to be invested for her and Maddox’s future, and a third to give away. “If I have $3 million,” she reasoned, “I know that one of them I can live without.”

Jolie talked once about there being darkness in her life, but says the suffering and poverty she has seen around the world have changed her. “I would be ashamed to think that I have anything to complain about.”

About Adopted Son Maddox

Jolie says she’s happy raising Maddox. “It’s an amazing thing to take care of a child and to have a child trust you and love you. That makes me feel like I somehow have a purpose. … I didn’t know what I would be like as a parent. So, I’ve learned that I love being a mom. … If he’s OK, if he’s healthy, nothing else matters to me. And, that’s just such a clarity. I never knew.”

The toddler stayed with her in England throughout the time she was filming Tomb Raider at Pinewood in London. “It was great to have him around when I was working,” she says. “He has changed my life and made me a much better person. He’s brought peace and chaos, happiness and joy. He is a delight and calls me Mumma. He can pretty much have anything he wants when he calls me that ... I crumble.”(Photos at right of Jolie & Maddox on the set appeared in the Wales Daily Post)

Jolie says she’d like to adopt another child, but doesn’t plan to have a biological child. “It’s this weird feeling that if I had a … biological child next year, then there would be that kid out there that I would have adopted, that now isn’t adopted and is living in an orphanage,” she said.

On Her TattoosOn Her Tattoos

”Usually all my tattoos came at good times,” she says. “A tattoo is something permanent when you’ve made a self-discovery, or something you’ve come to a conclusion about.”

A Buddhist monk applied her latest tattoo, a series of symbols on her left shoulder, just after she adopted son Maddox: “I asked for it to be done in Buddhist Sanskrit, which is part of (Maddox’s) history.”

A Tennessee Williams quote on her left forearm: “A prayer for the wild at heart kept in cages.” Says Jolie, “I have a prayer for everyone when I see people who aren’t living fully, who aren’t happy. You can see someone in the grocery store who doesn’t look as if they fit in their life, and they have a dream they’re not fulfilling, and it makes me sad.”

• A black cross “right here,” Jolie says, pointing to her groin. “I got that the day before I married Jonny” (Jonny Lee Miller in 1995). “It was all symbolic, and it was a good thing, nothing dark.”

• The Latin phrase Quod me nutrit me destruit (“What nourishes me also destroys me”) on her stomach.

• The letter “H” on her left wrist, which she got while dating Timothy Hutton. But she has said it represents her brother, James Haven, or possibly the H is a pseudonym for Johnny Lee Miller.

The Billy Bob tattoo on her arm has been removed, in a series of 4 operations designed to leave no scar. “I’m never going to have a man’s name tattooed on my body again,” she says.

Knives & Blood

As one can see in Tomb Raider, Jolie has an affinity for knives and owns a collection of them. “I’ve always been fascinated by other cultures and history and honor and fight and so they … they are not shiny, brand-new sharp knives from the store. They’re antique beautiful knives from other countries, and they are locked in a case so my son does not touch them,” she says.

But as a teenager, her fascination with knives was self-destructive in nature. She talks openly about how she once cut herself to express pain. For Jolie, knives and cutting also had a sexual lure. Jolie says she still has scars from a knife encounter with a boyfriend, but says, “It didn’t hurt, it was cold, and it felt so primitive and it felt so honest.”

She says she no longer cuts herself because she’s a mother. “I have a child now. I think when you make a decision to have a child, you cannot think about suicide again and you can’t be self-destructive.”

On Dating

Jolie says she’s not dating and misses certain aspects of being in a relationship, but hasn’t found anyone — male or female. She’s made no secret of having had an affair with another woman. “I consider myself a very sexual person who loves who she loves, whatever sex they may be,” she has said. Her one relationship with a woman reportedly happened in 1996. “I wasn’t looking to have a relationship with a woman. I was surprised when I suddenly found myself having these feelings I always had for men, but for a woman, and wanting to kiss her and wanting to touch her.”

When I talked about being with a woman, because it was for ‘Gia’ (a TV movie she did about a supermodel who flamed out), I was shocked and kind of offended at how people reacted so strongly. And people at the studio told me that I should deny it. I just thought, ‘We’re doing a film about this. I’m sharing my experience with this issue. What year are we living in, what’s going on, why is everybody . . ?’ -a lot of time I get that reaction.”

”My life is very full, and I’m sure at some point I’ll miss sex, and I’ll end up having a lover again. But not right now.”

About Her Father, Jon Voight

Jolie’s tumultuous relationship with her father is well known, culminating in a strange Access Hollywood show in which he publicly asked Angelina to get help for her mental problems. “I’ve had strange times with my father all my life,” the actress told Rolling Stone. She was particularly angry that his remarks might result in authorities removing Maddox from her custody.

Oddly enough, considering her feelings toward him, Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, appeared in the first Tomb Raider movie, playing the Lara Croft’s father — a man who apologizes for his shortcomings as a parent. The film “was kind of a goodbye in a strange way. It was a hello and goodbye,” Jolie says. “The good memories I’ll have are around that time.” Now, they no longer have a relationship.

She realizes that “I know nothing about him. I know nothing about his motivation, what he is, who he is or what he’s about. I have close relationships with my mother, (French actress Marcheline Bertrand) and brother (James Haven). I have very good friends, and I’m very blessed. But some relationships didn’t work out. Some people don’t have everything. They don’t have both parents.”(Jolie legally dropped Voight as her last name in a L.A. court on Sept. 18, 2002)

”But I’m fine and I think I’m a lot stronger and more secure than anyone wants to give me credit for. It’s been a very tough but very enlightening year. Life’s never been easy for me. It always goes in these big waves, up and down, and sometimes it’s difficult to stay afloat.

”I love my life now. I have a beautiful son and I have a very positive sense of the direction my life is headed. I have no regret.

Where Is She Now? 

After a brief hiatus from making movies- due to family time and health concerns- Angelina will be making a triumphant return to the big screen with the much anticipated “Maleficent”.  In this blockbuster, Jolie reprises the role of the villainous witch of “Sleeping Beauty”,  by introducing her side of the classic story. Though it appears that she's building up her acting chops once again , Jolie has reportedly said she wouldn't mind making a career change to directing- thus offering the spotlight to others. / Issue 158 - September 6013
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