A glance inside the Tomb

The notorious and devastatingly sexy Angelina Jolie is back for another go as the adventurous Lara Croft in the second “Tomb Raider” movie – “The Cradle of Life” – this summer. While Jolie’s charm seems to have people either enthralled with passion or a bit frightened at her eccentricities, I can assure you that the latter is not always justified.

“Damn,” I thought after my recent interview with Jolie. “She seems way too wonderful to be the frightening person the media has made her out to be.”

You surely know what I’m referring to. Ever since her initiation into the position of stardom, Jolie has come to be synonymous with the bottle of ex-husband Billy Bob Thornton’s blood she wore around her neck, possible incest with her brother, knife collections and a generally difficult and dark character. Yet, after speaking with her, something didn’t add up. It seemed apparent that despite all the fuss, Jolie has quite a pleasant disposition.

“Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life” is set for release in late July. Although fans are going wild for another round of Jolie’s seemingly flawless characterization of diva Croft, Jolie seems to be taking it all in stride. In the interview, Jolie humbly told The Hatchet about her sex appeal, desire for evil roles and, of course, “Tomb Raider.”

Everybody needs to be evil sometimes.

“I really want to play a bad person, whether it be in sexuality or in certain mindset. Not necessarily someone who hurts people but somebody who is from the darker, seedier realm of life. I think every character I’ve always played has had some good in them, even in ‘Girl Interrupted’ there was, at least I thought, some good in her. She had this need for life and was in reality very emotional and vulnerable. I really haven’t explored the side of me that’s very strong and very dark and very seedy -sexual and aggressive – without having to apologize for it. So I’d be curious to see that power in me without having to apologize. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not (laugh).”

On her dualistic sex appeal

“Well, I love other women, I support other women and I’m attracted to other women. Not to say necessarily that that’s my sexual preference, it’s just that I don’t see a difference between men and women, so I don’t think women should feel threatened by me. They know I’m very much on their side and very interested in them. I’m a bit androgynous, a bit of a boy.”

Video game goddess

“As voluptuous as she is and as sexy as Lara Croft can be, I wanted her to be more athletic, a little less cartoonish and a bit more sexy. To me, I wanted her to be darker and sexier and all the things to me we simply could not do in the first film because we were trying to make her into a real person. We all kind of went into the sequel knowing that this one was going to be darker, sexier and smarter, and that’s what our responsibility was – to give the audience that.”

On those really short shorts

“I was happy that people accepted me as Lara Croft. I read some little poll early on when they were first asking me to do (the role) and it was that the people who had been polled approved of me. And that was probably the reason I was finally able to do it. They had to talk me into wearing the shorts; we had really long meetings about the shorts. I used to come out and feel really uncomfortable. It took me a really long time to hold my head up high and just have fun with it, because after all, she’s just so confident as a character, and I’m just more of a casual person. So I’m not like her in that way. It’s strange, and it’s still funny because I see pictures and posters and it’s just bizarre that it’s me.”

The diet of a tomb raider

“It’s always pretty physically demanding; it’s always learning the skill that’s hard. The training is usually a lot harder than the shooting in a lot of ways. There’s a lot of trick horse riding and trick rifle stuff and stick fighting and things. It’s funny, the interesting thing I learned – and it’s something I’d be happy to share with anybody who’s interested in fitness – is that on the first (‘Tomb Raider’) there was so much focus on eating protein powders and power bars and chemical things that build you up, it just wasn’t fun. This time…I woke up in the morning and had beans and eggs and bacon, and ate what I felt like. This was while still doing cardio stuff like kickboxing. What I learned about fitness is that if you do it and have fun with it, eating what you want to eat and just living a healthy lifestyle is better for you. And I think I was physically stronger in this ‘Tomb Raider’ anyway.”

The dramatic v. the action role

“Ever since I started acting I always sort of got the ‘insane bad girl’ and never the ‘really sweet girlfriend’ or ‘the mom.’ And I’ve accepted that there are certain kinds of characters that I’m not as good at as somebody else, and that there are certain characters that I’m not as suited for. What concerns me, as far as not being typecast, is that I’ll be able to balance (dramatic and action roles), so I just try and be aware of it.

“They’re both nice in different ways, but there is something very lonely, although I think it may suit me, in doing a leading role like ‘Tomb Raider.’ Every time you do a film it changes you, and in doing a film like ‘Tomb Raider,’ where you’re very much alone and actors come on and off the set frequently, it changes you more. In a film like ‘Girl Interrupted,’ it’s in some weird way easier for me to go into that dark place in my mind because it’s so much more private, and you get to stay inside your space. It’s very hard to stand up in a room and be the center and be very loud and be very confident, and have this sense of wit and strength that’s not necessarily in all of us. It’s actually very difficult in some weird ways as an actor because it’s not natural to me.

“I’m very fortunate that I get to do both (dramatic and action roles). I think that if I just did films like ‘Girl Interrupted’ or ‘Beyond Borders,’ which are so heavy and so personal, that I’d become too closed off in my mind. I’d lose that ability to laugh and shout and be free and physical, which is very important. It’s something I actually learned doing the first Tomb Raider’ film, in being able to get out of my head and be playful again. I think we often grow up and forget what it is to be playful and active.”

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