Angelina Jolie is back in action in Tomb Raider sequel

Two years after Lara Croft: Tomb Raider raised the bar for women as action stars, Angelina Jolie is back as the strong, skilled, and sexy superstar who is called upon to save the day.

On July 25, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life is due in theaters nationwide. Jolie, 27, will be reprising her role as the video game heroine who welcomes any challenge and is prepared to tackle anything.

Over the past several years, she has played a drug-addled supermodel (Gia ), a beautiful scheming con artist (Original Sin ), and a troubled sociopath (Girl, Interrupted ), a role for which she earned an Oscar.

“I’m just happy I’m working as an actor,” Jolie said. “Ever since I first started acting I always got the kind of insane bad girl…they never offered the kind of really sweet girlfriend or the mom.” She also expressed concerns that due to the success of Tomb Raider, she is becoming typecast for action roles rather than dramatic ones.

When asked about the connection between video games, violent movies, and violence in children, Jolie said, “Obviously I take that very seriously, because I have a child. She [Lara] is actually a good guy, and so the violence is usually in self- defense or to protect.”

While she does bear an uncanny resemblance to the game’s star, that doesn’t mean the transition was a simple one.

“She’s so confident,” Jolie said. “I’m just very kind of casual; I’m not like her in that way, so it was strange.”

Adrian Smith, operations director of CORE Design commented, “She is a very strong-willed person; she really just also has a soft and feminine side. Angelina Jolie has all of those attributes. She really took it to heart. She accepted everything, all the challenges.”

Though the first film was a summer blockbuster in 2001, Jolie had other reasons for making the highly anticipated follow-up.

“There were certain things about the first one that were unfinished for me or not done exactly the way I wanted to do them,” Jolie said. “I just wanted to explore the character more and to do her what I felt was better.”

Concerning some of the changes that were made for Cradle of Life, Jolie said, “I wanted her to be more athletic and a little less cartoonish and a little more sexy. To me, I wanted her to be darker and sexier and other things we just really simply couldn’t do in the first one, because we were trying to make her into a real person.” Outside of the fictional world of films, sexuality is one of Angelina Jolie’s most appealing assets. She is one of the few celebrities who seems to appeal to both men and women equally.

“Women want to be her, men want to be with her, and I think that’s a recipe that works across both genders,” said Mike McGarvey, CEO of Eidos Interactive (creators of the Tomb Raider video game).

“I don’t see a difference between men and women, so I think women should never ever feel threatened by me,” Jolie said. “They know I’m very much on their side and very interested in them.”

Whether Jolie proves to have similar success will depend on many other factors. One thing, which was expressed prophetically by a character in the first film, is certain: “While one Tomb Raider is good, two — better.”