Copyright 2001

[ January 9th 2001 ]

This from British tabloid newspaper The Sun...

Meet the real life Lara Croft as the computer game heroine hits the big screen for the first time. Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie puts flesh on the sexy cyberbabe in Tomb Raider - which is set to be one of the blockbuster movies of 2001. Angelina, 25, had to go through a relentless training programme to shape up as the curvaceous but muscular Tomb Raider star. She learned boxing, kickboxing, yoga, ballet, dog-sledding, gymnastics and weapons training.

And she spent three months practising bungee jumps to perfect just one scene. It left her in peak condition to perform her own stunts in the action-packed movie. Angelina was determined to get the perfect physique to play Lara Croft, the star of Eidos Interactive's Tomb Raider video-game series which has generated 300m in sales since 1996. The character is an archaeologist, photojournalist and British aristocrat, who travels the globe (in tight clothes of course) having adventures. Angelina reveals how she made her character come to life. She says: "We decided she was human now and she wasn't perfect. I gained weight and worked out and my shape changed.

"She's a woman and she's curvy and cheeky and playful and wicked. We didn't try to make her macho." Angelina, daughter of Midnight Cowboy actor Jon Voight - who plays her dad in Tomb Raider - admits the role was her most physically demanding yet. She said: "It's like joining the army. I almost recommend to everyone sending themselves off to some insane boot camp ,travelling the world and taking themselves out of their normal life and getting free." Stunt expert Simon Crane, who worked on the film, said: "I would rate Angelina very highly against all of the actors I have worked with. She has done sequences that involve stunts you won't have seen a woman do before. She does all these stunts herself. I was very impressed."

Tomb Raider was mostly shot in and around London and at Pinewood Studios, Middlesex. But the film crew also spent a week in the remote, war-torn country of Cambodia, where they became a star attraction with the locals. Buddhist monks making a pilgrimage to the temple of Angkor Wat were surprised to see a pretty young woman in unarmed combat with masked villains, watched by a full-scale Hollywood production team. Angelina, who is married to Armageddon star Billy Bob Thorton, was looking exceptionally fit in a jet black catsuit after months of riding motorbikes, martial arts and working.

The sultry actress could also been seen expertly power-sliding her Land Rover through the mud and water for the cameras. Tomb Raider is the first film to be shot in Cambodia since Peter O'Toole played Lord Jim in 1964, so the impact could be significant. Many observers are predicting a dramatic increase in the number of tourists visiting the area after they have seen the movie - as happened in Thailand where Leonardo DiCaprio filmed The Beach. Angelina, however, is more nervous about the impact of her performance as the sexiest woman who never existed. She explains: "There are so many people who love the game. She's their girl and you don't want to take away the thing they love about her. You hope you do justice to what everyone wanted. You pray you've got it right..."

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