One Tough Mother

Angelina Jolie, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life

''When I read the first script for the original movie, it was all about Lara's sexuality,'' says Jolie, 28. ''It was all about kicking men in the nuts and using flirting to fight. We changed all that, but the character still wasn't complete. We didn't get her all the way there in the first movie. But now, in the sequel, she's a complete woman, with feelings and emotions. She's got a very specific personality -- very fiery, very hot -- and it makes her a lot more real.''

Of course, it's still a character who started out life with an on-screen range limited to how quickly one could press Alt-Space-Escape. Yet Jolie says her reasons for playing a part based on a videogame cartoon are the very same ones that once compelled her to portray a psychiatric inmate in ''Girl, Interrupted'' (you remember, the role that won her an Oscar?). Or the relief worker she'll play in ''Beyond Borders.'' Or even a towering historical figure like Catherine the Great. ''I just look for roles that speak to different parts of me,'' she explains. ''All the characters I've played -- they're all different parts of who I am.''

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