Copyright 2001

[ May 16th 2001 ]

Angelina Jolies birthday is coming up.... On June 4 she'll be 26 years old, with an Oscar, three Golden Globes, two marriages, and an eerily lifelike Tomb Raider action figure (the film opens June 15) to her credit. They say Geminis are independent thinkers who can't stand rules or confinement, which makes one of Jolie's famously numerous tattoos a plaintive Tennessee Williams quote that reads "A prayer for the wild at heart, kept in cages" all the more appropriate.

They also say that Geminis are the most talkative of all the signs. But Jolie doesn't even have to talk anymore, at least not to the press after just a few years in the spotlight, she has cultivated so much personal folklore that every interview, every celebrity profile, every snippet on Access Hollywood plunders through just about all of Jolie's most notorious quirks. Her particular mythology is so great that if you made a documentary about her, you wouldn't even have to use any clips from her films. Her life, it seems, provides intrigue enough. Those tattoos. The exact details are a little sketchy, but besides the Williams quote, there's the dragon on her arm, two that spell out "Billy Bob" (including one in a place where only he'll see it), two crosses, an "H" on her wrist, a Latin inscription that reads "What nourishes me also destroys me," and assorted others. Jolie has more ink than any other A-list actress, but on her a tattooed biceps looks smashing with a strapless Versace dress. Those lips. Her pucker is so prominent that Jolie described her makeup routine to Elle magazine thusly: "Usually I try to take my features down. There's a gray beige lipstick that I throw on to make my lips less red." What other human being does this? That fondness for knives.

According to Jolie mythology, she collects them, she likes to play with them, she keeps them bedside. Presumably, as action hero Lara Croft in Tomb Raider she'll get to demonstrate her dexterity with blades on the big screen. That sexuality. Though her prominent romantic relationships have been with men, Jolie embodies a kind of fluid appeal that provokes both men and women. Blame Gia, the HBO movie in which Jolie embodies a troubled supermodel who pines for the woman who gets away or blame Jolie herself: when she learned that readers of Jane had voted her "Female Actor Who Makes Your Knees Weak," she replied, "They're right to think that about me, because I'm the person most likely to sleep with my female fans." That personality. Nutty much? After she won her first Golden Globe, she jumped into a hotel swimming pool still wearing her beaded evening gown. Her interior decorating desires are expectedly goofy: She wants to install one of those Velcro walls in her house. And to have life-size plastic horses in the living room instead of chairs and couches. And, she owns a vintage car customized with a flame thrower.

Yep. The brother, James Haven (the "H" of tattoo fame). "I am so in love with my brother right now," she announced when she collected her Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Girl, Interrupted. Titillating incest rumors flared, then were summarily quashed. "That's sick," brother Jamie informed US Weekly. The father, Oscar winner Jon Voight. If you watch a lot of Angelina Jolie movies and then go right into Midnight Cowboy, the resemblance is unsettling. Voight wasn't around much when Angelina was growing up, but when she was born, he deliberately gave her a middle name that would double as a surname if she ever wanted to drop his famous moniker. Jolie's mother, French former model-actress Marcheline Bertrand, doesn't do interviews. But she is her daughter's co-manager, just in case you wondered. That wardrobe. The earlier chapters of Jolie lore tell of a 20-year-old bride dressed in black rubber pants and a white shirt with her the name of her intended (British actor Jonny Lee Miller, a costar in 1995's Hackers) written on it (in her blood, natch).

These days the lady lives in black leather (goes with the oft-noted fondness for rare steak); her notable entries into Oscar fashion include a long black dress with equally long black hair extensions ('00) and a simple white pantsuit and conservative bun ('01; after the ceremony she supposedly said that the outfit was so comfortable she'd never wear a dress to an awards show again). The husband. The pairing with Miller ended in divorce after a few years; in May 2000, Jolie abruptly married fellow Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton at the Little Church of the West in Las Vegas (reported cost: $189, which is less than Catherine Zeta-Jones's manicure probably cost before her much ballyhooed wedding to Michael Douglas. And the Zeta-Jones/Douglas union is an appropriate comparison, because the age difference between both couples is about 20 years apiece). Thornton has four ex-wives and three children ("Hi, this is my stepmom, Angelina Jolie"); the newlyweds had a rather provocative chat with a reporter for US Weekly wherein Billy Bob declared, "We met at the dawn of time, I think," and Angelina asked dreamily, "You know when you love someone so much you can almost kill them?" It's an interview filled with un-movie-star-like overshares, along the lines of "sex for us is almost too much."

From Jolie we'd expect nothing less than too much. Truth be told, Jolie causes quite a sensation for someone who really hasn't been in that many movies. At least movies you'd remember (Hell's Kitchen, Mojave Moon, Without Evidence) or admit that'd you'd seen (Playing God, Pushing Tin). Jolie stirred up enough frenzy with her television work (besides 1998's Gia, she knocked back a Globe for her 1997 role in George Wallace) to get a costarring gig with Denzel Washington in 1999's The Bone Collector. She made everyone forget that Girl, Interrupted was supposed to be a Winona Ryder vehicle. And now she's playing video game chippie Lara Croft, a woman Jolie has described as a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones. Croft, she claims, is more like her real self than any other part she's ever played. If this is so and iffy trailer aside (apparently, uh, "the planets will align," and whether or not mass destruction occurs rests on the muscular shoulders of a certain big-lipped hero) Tomb Raider could very well succeed based solely on Jolie's outrageous mystique.

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