July 2003
Lara Croft Tomb Raider : The Cradle of Life : An Interview with Angelia Jolie

Interviewed by Wilson Morales

Lara Croft Tomb Raider : The Cradle of Life: An Interview with Angelia Jolie

Not since Sigourney Weaver made a household name with her ďRipleyĒ character in the Alien films has there been another female action hero that drives men and women to the theaters. Angelina Jolie has been through a lot these few years. She has numerous Golden Globe Awards and an Oscar for her role in Girl Interrupted. In 2001, she chose to play the role and star in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which became the biggest female action film with an opening weekend of $47.7M. The film would go on to gross over $300M worldwide. Since then she has spent her outside the film world taking care of her newly adopted son Madison and being a traveling spokesperson for the United Nations. But she loves to act and sheís back once again reprising her role as Lara Croft in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. In an interview with blackfilm.com, Angelina Jolie talks coming back to the role as well as being a single mom.

WM: After doing some many dramatic pieces and winning the Oscar, did you find this film challenging in regards to acting?

AJ: Believe or not, I think itís one of the hardest things Iíve ever done. For most people, if you had to sit in a corner and think about what makes you sad, and think about what haunts you, and what makes you angry, we could all probably get to that place, but if you had to stand front and center in front of a thousand people, really proud and confident and get them all to follow you out of the room, thatís hard. Do you know what I mean? So thereís this weird feeling that sheís positive and confident all the time that that was very difficult for me.

WM: The first film was the biggest action film featuring a female lead. How does that raise expectations for the sequel?

AJ: Itís a lot of pressure. I plan not to answer the phone for 3 weeks. (She laughs) It does. It puts the pressure. When we did the film and when I saw it, I think itís a lot better than the first one so Iím pretty confident that if people give it a shot, it certainly holds up, if not, itís much, much better than the first one. But you never know, and I donít take it so seriously. Itís a summer movie and itís business and if it goes well, great, and if it doesnít, itís not the end of the world.

WM: Were you disappointed in the first film?

AJ: I wasnít satisfied with it. Through the making of that film, we were all still trying figure out how things worked, and we were trying to make the video game into a person, but still it was the video game and still she was a video vixen and she wasnít quite a solid woman with emotions and feelings. Even the way she looked wasnít to me sexy and real enough. So there were a lot of things, and we couldnít adjust to everything right. We thought a lot about how to make the second film right.

WM: Physically, whatís the toughest thing you had to do for this film?

AJ: Just the endurance of it. The first of it was to go on for that many months like that and also having a kid. The horse was hard because it was so many different skills at once and working with an animal thatís a stallion that didnít want to listen to me. That was pretty tricky and the Jet Ski was hard. I donít like being wet. So the whole water aspect of the film was not fun.

WM: How was the chemistry between you and Gerald Butler?

AJ: I think a love interest and having something that tempted her and that she cared about was very important in this film and to see what her sadness is. Maybe if she is fine being alone or if she carries her sadness with her. I think we wanted to make sure there was a man who wasnít some weak boy that loved her. We wanted to find man that would be equal to her and just as strong and military and wild and heís certainly has that and heís a strong man and he has a great role and they are equal. He sometimes has one up on her and vice-versa.

WM: How do relate to the character? Are there any particular characteristics that are like you or any characteristics she has that you like?

AJ: I think Iím the more fortunate of the two of us cause I have Maddox. I feel like sheís alone and I get to be a mom; but what we have in common is that we both have a strong sense of adventure and love for other cultures and other countries and we both would fight to death for what we believe in. I think sheís a good friend and bit a nuts.

WM: Are you a bit nuts?

AJ: I would think so. I think we are all a bit nuts.

WM: Do you ever get sick of seeing yourself on covers of magazines?

AJ: Yeah. I tend to avoid and donít read them. I saw a glimpse of two different covers so far and I havenít read the articles and I donít plan to. I glimpsed through them quickly and send them to my mom cause she keeps them. Yeah, but itís strange. Itís always strange. Itís nice when you look at some and they look like you and they represent you and some donít look like you at all. But it all comes in perspective when Maddox will see something like that.

WM: Does Lara Croft look like you?

AJ: Sometimes. But sheís definitely her. I feel separate from her. Beyond Borders sounds like me, looks like me, acts like me. So thatís very strange to watch.

WM: Does Maddox get what Mommy does?

AJ: Maddox thinks Mommy dresses funny. (She laughs). Maddox looks at the wet suits and couldnít figure out why I had this weird rubbery skin on me, and always had gadgets and things. I did a film where I wear black leather, and big boots, and an eye patch, and a commander hat and everyone said Maddox would see me and freak out. So I walked in the room and he said, ďMommaĒ. So I thought this fine and thereís nothing hard about this situation.

WM: How has motherhood changed you? Does it change what you look for in a script?

AJ: It changes if I look in a script how much is demanded of my time away from him, and also if itís really worth it. Iíll look at a part and Iíll look a script and Iíll see what the films says and Iíll think that if itís more important to do that or to travel around the world and spend 3 months with my son. Itís becoming harder. I used to just want to work and get out of the house all the time and never was happy in my life and now with traveling the UN and the time with my son, itís much harder to come to work and feel that doing a film doesnít mean much to me.

WM: Do you see yourself dropping out?

AJ: I wouldnít because I know as much I would love to believe that I could be useful in the field, and just as a mother, Iím aware that Iím much more useful if I can balance both. And I do love acting.

WM: How tough is it being a single mom?

AJ: I think itís only tough because youíre aware of moments you wish you were sharing with somebody who would remember that when youíre growing old and could talk to you about it. That time when Maddox first walked in Africa, or that time when there was nobody to hold your hand and say, ďIsnít that beautifulĒ. Iím aware thatís something that could be sad, but I think itís better that to not have that than to have the wrong relationships around. So it feels really good that everybody in his life and every aspect of his life is honest in the way it is and doesnít have to worry that something will have to adjust.

WM: With this character, what are your feelings toward video games and would let Maddox play when heís ready?

AJ: Iíve heard a lot about the different controversies of new video games and I donít know them cause I havenít played them so I canít really comment on them. Maddox, I hoping heís ridden camels and elephants and lives half of the time in the jungle and plays soccer and Iím hoping that if I expose him to all the other aspects of life, he wouldnít want to sit in a room and play games. Iím hoping to influence that. The other aspects are his mind and his life so that if he ever decides to play a computer game, Iím not going to stop him. I think itís fine but I want to make sure heís got many other interest.

WM: Have you ever played the game Tomb Raider?

AJ: I tried. I find that itís very difficult and for the record I think that Lara would find it very difficult as well. I think the two of us would break the game. Itís better for us to just be in it and jump around as much. Itís funny because I do break things all the time. I break computers all the time and someone said, ďWell Iím supposedly like Lara cause Bryce is always having to fix something she breaks.Ē

WM: Is New York your home now?

AJ: I call England home. I live outside of London, in the country. I feel more connected to the rest of the world and I travel a lot in Asia and Africa and the rest of Europe and I felt very far away being in the states.

WM: Do you enjoy being in NY?

AJ: I love NY and I have an apartment here. I just havenít seen it in 4 years. (She laughs). At the time I married Billy (Bob Thornton) and he didnít want to live in New York and I havenít been back since.

WM: Iím curious that you donít like to read your own press. Arenít you concern how these magazine are portraying you and if there are accurate?

AJ: I ask people who read them if it was fine. Some would say yes. I want to live a normal life and be a normal person and I donít want to take myself seriously. Either way, people love me or hate me, think Iím great or think I suck. Whatever it is, I think itís healthier to not pay attention to that stuff and read about yourself in the third person. But I do often ask it said anything that would upset anybody. Did it point a finger at somebody? Did they say something nice about my mom? Did it say something nice about Maddox?

WM: When you first started in this business, you got rejected because of your looks, either because you were too dark or whatever. Did that make you stronger or bitter?

AJ: It made me confuse because I didnít know where I would fit in. I went to over a hundred auditions before I got a job and I think thatís good. You pay your dues and then you appreciate working and you work that much harder. But yeah, I was always told that I couldnít be the girl next door or that there was something odd about me. And then I realize, Iím fortunate that I happen to be at a time when there were films like Gia or Tomb Raider. There are certain types of women are a bit dark and a bit weird where I would fit in. Probably if I was born in the 50s I wouldnít be an actress.

WM: Can we expect a 3rd Tomb Raider?

AJ: I donít know. Iíll see how this opens and how people respond to it. Iíll talk to the fans and see if they want another one.

WM: When you say fans, does that mean critics too?

AJ: No. Itís a big summer movie and I tend to find that critics tend to take it seriously like theyíre analyzing Shakespeare. Itís fun, and itís fun and entertaining. I can understand if someone says something horrible or if itís crass in some way, then criticize it. But itís just simply fun, I never understand why itís overly analyzed.

WM: At this point in your career, would you still consider darker roles like Gia?

AJ: Yeah, but not exactly in the same way, cause I know darkness in a different way. I think Beyond Borders is very dark when it comes to more aspects of life, but in a mature way. Itís a less of self-destruction a less of personal madness and itís a different kind of darkness.

WM: Very recently you talk about the bigger darkness outside the world. Is that what new affect you have?

AJ: That does affect me more than anything. I think I used to want a lot for myself. Like everybody else, I would get frustrated over certain personal things and I never do now. Iíve seen that thereís real darkness and real sadness and real pain, and we donít have a clue whatís it like. So Iím very fortunate and I donít forget that.

WM: Not to get too personal, but does that make you want to resolve whatever issues you have with your father?

AJ: No. I have an adopted son so I donít believe that if you are genetically connected you have a natural connection and destiny together. We are not similar people. We are trying to have a relationship and we didnít become friends in this life and it would be great to have a relationship with a dad. I donít have one and I have a lot of other blessings and I need to focus on those. And if anything I need to keep a really strong place because Iím a parent. If anything, it translates probably when I traveled the world and if I see a man who is crying because he canít get his children out of Columbia or somebody who just lost his child or a man whoís frustrated cause he doesnít have enough money to feed his kids. I would probably be that much moved by those kind of parents and pay that more attention to fathers because I donít think to be a father is something really important.

WM: Is Sharkslayer a film you are doing because of Maddox?

AJ: Kind of. I loved Shrek. Maddox loved the film, and you donít always the opportunity to be a bad fish. So I went in the room and they had all these pictures of all the fish and they asked me to play one of these characters. So you see the sweet little light fish and then you see this red fish with a huge mouth and pointy eyebrows, and I go, ďThatís my fishĒ.

WM: What was your favorite scene to shoot?

AJ: I loved the fight with Simon Yam. I loved the rifle drill.