- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2001

Angelina Jolie has Hollywood clamoring for more, and she is just 26. Now Miss Jolie is starring in "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," the big-budget movie translation of a popular video game series. Miss Jolie plays the pistol-packing virtual sex symbol Lara Croft, a hard-bodied British treasure seeker. The film opens tomorrow at Washington-area theaters.

In the film, when she is not changing into various skintight costumes to plunder the crypts and ruins of ancient cities, Miss Jolie races to find a mysterious relic with supernatural powers. With three Golden Globes, a Critics´ Choice Award and an Academy Award in her trophy case, the tattooed big-screen bombshell discusses her new movie during a recent stop at a Beverly Hills hotel.

Q: This character is a creation of a graphic novelist and a video game maker. So how do you make her into flesh and blood?

A: You hope that you can get a personality across with the right gestures and a few of the right things said, and make her real. She´s a very direct person. She´s very impatient and kind of wicked. And she doesn´t sit well. She doesn´t want to sit and talk to anybody; she wants to move. Every day was like attempting an obstacle course, and I had to do it as her, with her confidence and her sense of fun. To my surprise, I found that was in me, and I loved it.

Q: You do look remarkably like her in those costumes.

A: Well, we wanted to keep all the things that fans recognize about her: her braid, her breasts, her boots. But, at the same time, we didn´t want to make it stupid, and we tried to make her athletic and strong. It was a lot of work from a lot of people to figure out outfits that were sexy and also practical, fabrics that you could stretch and jump and move in and get wet and show the holsters over. So there was a lot of technical thought behind it.

Q: How did you like filming in Cambodia?

A: Cambodia is the most beautiful place I have ever been to. I discovered things about what´s happening in the world, and my eyes started to open. I had learned so much about these people, and when I met them, they were so generous and kind and spiritual. I couldn´t believe that they would have such patience and such openness after all of what they had been through. To know that kids there are still stepping on land mines every day was horrifying and so sad. I fell in love with Cambodia. I´m going back in July just to learn more about them and to work on different projects there.

Q: Was it difficult for you emotionally, filming in England near your ex, Jonny Lee Miller, and yet really missing your husband, Billy Bob Thornton?

A: Oh, no. I am very, very lucky that I had a beautiful first marriage. Jonny and I separated because we realized that we are friends. We wanted great things for each other, and we are better apart. He´s very encouraging of me, and he´s so happy for me. He came to the set and visited, and we´d talk about Billy. He´s great.

Q: What challenges does having tattoos impose on your career?

A: I have worked with the same makeup artist on 14 different films. She´s one of my closest friends. She covers them up amazingly well, but she wants to kill me every time I get a new one.

Q: What sort of injuries did you sustain during the filming?

A: Little ones. The biggest was a torn ligament in my ankle. Other than that, I just have lots of different small scars from the harness of the bungee, and a tiny burn from the chandelier. I have little things still, all these cuts and bruises, but it´s very much worth it and part of the job.

Q: How many times could you do this character before the injuries start to add up?

A: You know, it´s not a bad life. She´s a great character, and I´d love to keep doing it. So if somebody says, "For the sequel, in six months we need you to go back into training and learn 10 new skills, go to circus school and fly a helicopter, and we´d also like you to visit three more countries and learn about their history and explore places that people haven´t been," that´s an amazing job. I´d be very lucky to have it, so I´d be thrilled.

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