Angelina Jolie

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

Interviewed by David Michael

She chewed scenery and won an Oscar for "Girl, Interrupted", then became the world's biggest female action star with "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider". But after "Original Sin" and "Life, Or Something Like It", the charismatic actress could use a hit.

Step up "Speed" director Jan De Bont, for "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life". Oh well...

What do you think are the main improvements on the first Lara Croft film?

Everybody thought there were things that we could improve on. The main thing is the first one had a lot of fantasy, but this one has a script that's based in reality. In terms of action and story, it's real - it's not overly colourful or fantastic.

Do you think she was too invincible?

Well, I think before there was so much time spent trying to make her human [laughs], and trying to find out how all the gears worked - what the house was like and all the basic things. There wasn't a lot of time to do anything else, and yeah, I do think things were too easy for her.

Has Lara Croft developed in any way from this overtly cool and detached character?

In terms of the first film, there's a videogame character that a lot of people like, and you want to start transferring her to life without ruining what they like about her. But we didn't know what she fears, what she loves and what makes her laugh, and we didn't know if people wanted that or not, as some people want their perceptions of hero characters to remain.

After the first one, everybody felt they wanted to know and get inside her more, so we took that into account when we were working on the ideas for this one.

Did you keep up the fitness regime or did you have to start from scratch?

We approached it a little differently this time; I think we've learnt a lot about fitness. In the last one, I was on such a strict regime and diet that I wasn't enjoying food, and I was eating all these protein bars and things.

It wasn't a kind of lifestyle, it was too extreme, and it actually didn't do what I wanted it to do. So this time the physical training was very specific; it's not ten hours a day, it's very specific to what we need, and the diet's gone out of the window!

You've said acting is your therapy. How does the "Tomb Raider" series fit into that equation?

Well "Tomb Raider" will certainly keep me healthy. It keeps me travelling and adventuring, and keeps me strong and capable. And all those things are a good base for a woman to have.

"Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" is released in UK cinemas on 22nd August 2003.