Copyright 2003

[ August 15th 2003 ]

She may be one of Hollywood's biggest celebrities, but Angelina Jolie has left a huge impression on Merseyside. Not only is her best friend and film stuntwoman a Scouser - Eunice Huthart - but Angelina also has ties with Alder Hey children's hospital. She donated 50,000 to the hospital after her adopted Cambodian son Maddox was treated there. Then 13 months old, Maddox was taken to Alder Hey with burns after an incident with a kettle.

Maddox was hurt while his mum was filming Lara Craft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life - being released next week - in Snowdonia, North Wales. Angelina was so delighted with the care he received, she urged others to donate money to the Rocking Horse appeal, saying: "This is such a worthwhile cause." And now we can see Angelina - and Snowdonia - in all their glory when the second Tomb Raider film hits the big screen. Not that the star has had an easy ride since she last played action star Lara Croft. She's been through a divorce and possibly a renewed estrangement with her dad - and she's also faced speculation she had become a love rival for Kylie's boyfriend, the actor Olivier Martinez. But, despite her troubles, outspoken Angelina is probably the happiest she's ever been.

The box-office success in 2001 of the video game-inspired Lara Croft: Tomb Raider catapulted Jolie into the media spotlight, ably assisted by some bizarre behaviour and a lusty public marriage to the equally odd Billy Bob Thornton. The marriage is over, and so reportedly is her brief reconciliation with Midnight Cowboy father John Voight. But Angelina's film career is flourishing and the 28-year-old actress is also finding a whole new focus in life through motherhood. "I was never completely fulfilled to just be an actress, being a mother has made an enormous difference in my life," Angelina enthuses. "Certainly I've changed a lot in the last few years. I think I'm finally on track with my life." With the tattoos, vials of blood as pendants and public displays of sexuality, not to mention the knife collection and exhilaration for stunt work, Angelina - or Angie, as Eunice calls her - made a name for herself as seductively bizarre.

However calculated, it didn't do any harm to her growing reputation as a fearless actress, particularly following her Oscarwinning performance in Girl Interrupted. "I've just been honest and I suppose there are a few things about me that people consider exceptionally odd. I just don't think they are," she maintains. "I don't regret anything and I've learned things, but I'm a bit wild and a bit nuts. But I'm also other things and it's nice that I can be those other things now."

The casting of Angelina as Hollywood's toughest chick in the Lara Croft movies has turned her into a sexuallycharged female version of Indiana Jones and James Bond. But in the sequel she vows her fighting archaeologist is less of a "video vixen" the second time around and more "a real woman."

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