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THE STAR QUIZZES ANGELINA JOLIE
Copyright 2001 Tan Kit Hoong Source: www.thestar.com

[ February 2nd 2001 ]

British newspaper The Star recently joined an army of journalists aching for an exclusive interview with Angelina Jolie on the set of her latest action adventure movie Tomb Raider, and reported the following while the Cambodian contigent completed scenes in the religious Ankor Wat Temples...

She's very open, very wicked,'' says an extremely fit Angelina Jolie in her best British accent as she talks about her character Lara Croft in the upcoming action flick Tomb Raider. Jolie ... "I thought it would be a challenge to learn all these new skills and be this healthy." Since her character is British, born and bred American Jolie has had to do her lines in a faintly aristocratic British accent, pronouncing the word "wicked'' as wicket. She's doing a pretty good job of it too. A few Asia Pacific journalists, including one from The Star, were treated to a chat with Jolie recently while she was on location in Cambodia's Angkor Wat where she and the 150-strong crew of Tomb Raider were filming scenes from the movie. The planned 10-day shoot in the 800-year-old ruins of Angkor Wat near the small Cambodian town of Siem Reap is the last leg of the film's on-location shooting, which has taken the crew from Britain to Iceland (which doubles as Siberia in the movie).

Today, in front of a small temple that the locals call Ghost Gate, director Simon West is filming a scene where Lara's nemesis Powell (played by Scottish actor Ian Glen) is instructing a bunch of locals, ordering them to pull down a huge ornate stone door that is the door to a tomb. It turns out that although the stone door looks indistinguishable from the rest of the temple, it is actually fake; a prop brought in pieces and assembled here by production designer Kirk Petruccelli's capable crew. Jolie, looking rested, is not filming today, and she greets her co-stars before coming in to join us in a quiet part of the jungle, away from the loud megaphone-enhanced verbal directions coming from the director. After a three-month physical training regime prior to the start of filming, Jolie indeed looked the part of the athletic Indiana Jones-like female adventurer--slim, tanned and dressed in a black sleeveless turtleneck and shorts.

The training was necessary not only to have her look the part, but also because Jolie had to perform most of her own stunts in the film, something that is evident as she shows us her swollen ankle, the result of a small accident as she was doing a running jump on wet ground. "I thought it would be a challenge to learn all these new skills and be this healthy. "You know, if somebody gives any of us a lot of money and says, 'We'll give you a job, and we're going to train you with military skills, bungee jumping, motorcycle rides, boxing and go live in England and to travel the world,' ... I'd feel really fortunate,'' said the 25-year-old Jolie. Angelina Jolie, in her guise as archeologist-adventurer Lara Croft, did most of her own stunts. "I'm just really happy that I could pull a lot of it off.'' A sentiment that director Simon West and producer Lloyd Levine share, both proclaiming that Jolie performed some stunts even better than some of her stunt stand-ins, especially the action scene requiring her to perform a "bungee ballet'', an unusual sequence that required Jolie to be tied to a harness connected to bungee cords while fighting bad guys in her mansion.

"Running on the walls was really hard because you had one thing attached to your waist and you had to get the momentum to run around. I was red, black and blue on my waist for weeks. From the pain, I thought I had new stomach muscles but it turned out to be a big bruise,'' said Jolie. "The first time I did the gymnastics, and did a flip, the braid whipped around and whacked me in the eye and I had to see an eye doctor. But then, a few weeks into filming, suddenly, I was able to spin the guns, shoot them, jump off something and figure out how to get the braid in the right place!'' Apparently, being a woman with a different body shape and physical make-up (as compared with a man's) also holds some special challenges of its own when it comes to stunts, as Jolie found out.

"You're shooting and you're jumping and your holsters fall off because your hips are in a different place! It's fun to discover how a woman in an action movie works ... it's just a different way,'' said Jolie, who also remarked that shooting guns was difficult because she was left handed, resulting in spent bullet shells flying out and depositing themselves unceremoniously down her shirt front, burning her in the process. Why, after an Academy award-winning performance in Girl, Interrupted, did Jolie decide to switch gears and go for an all-out action flick based on a computer game? "Well, at first I didn't want to. At first I thought it was a pretty bad idea. I think everything that probably a lot of people might expect this movie to be is what I thought it would be. "And then I met director Simon West and he talked to me about how he saw her and what he didn't want to do and how he saw her as a warrior and a fighter. He talked about filming in Cambodia and how we were the first film crew here in such a long time and I realised it was, selfishly, going to be a growing (project).

"Lara is also a character, I think, that's going to be a really great, positive role model in all the best ways, not just in a moral way. I think there's not enough ... fire ... in people these days ... and Lara's certainly got a 'don't touch me' thing going on for her with experience that was going to enhance my life.'' Jolie laughs. Tomb Raider is also meaningful to Jolie in another way--her real life father, noted actor Jon Voight, is also playing the part of Lara Croft's father. "It was amazing how long it took us to realise that he should play the part, because it's so much like our real relationship that it was kind of hard to accept that we'd do it because it's so personal,'' says Jolie. "Lara is still trying to figure out who he was and who he is and they spend a lot of time apart and in that way, it's very much like me and my father.' On the subject of love, Jolie also talked about being away from her husband Billy Bob Thornton, remarking that the different time zones make it hard for the two to get each other on the phone. "Right now, he's hating the distance between us but come Christmas, he'd better brace himself,'' says Jolie, who now sports a tattoo with the words "Billy Bob'' on her shoulder. After Cambodia, the cast and crew will head back to England's Pinewood Studios (the famous 007 soundstage) to finish the interior shots.

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