Angelina Jolie portrayed Lara Croft in two Tomb Raider movies from 2001-2003.
Jolie is an Academy Award winning actress, and is known for films such as Girl Erased, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Salt, Maleficent and Eternals. She has also been a prolific tabloid figure, including her involvement with fellow actor Brad Pitt as 'Brangelina'. In recent years, she has become a notable humanitarian with her work with UNICEF and the UN, which was inspired by her time shooting Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) in Cambodia.
Jolie initially turned down the opportunity to play Lara Croft, as she felt the character didn't suit her. She changed her mind when told that she could train with the British military. Simon West stated that he struggled to get approval for Jolie to play the role of Lara from the studio. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, West stated: "[She] had a great, dark reputation about her. [...] She spoke her mind, and she had a notorious reputation. It was quite hard for me to get her through the approval process at the studio, because I wanted an actress who was going to bring something to the part, and she brought this great Angelina Jolie mythology with her as this dark, crazy, wicked woman with a very particular and interesting personality. I wanted that mythology of Angelina Jolie to fuse with Lara Croft."
Whilst a third film starring Jolie was green-lit and bankrolled, the actress turned down another chance to play Lara. In 2004, Jolie was interviewed by the World Entertainment News Network and stated: "I just don't feel like I need to do another one. I felt really happy with the last one. It was one we really wanted to do."
- MGM asked the filmmakers behind Tomb Raider (2018) to bring Jolie in for a cameo role, but was rejected. According to GK Films' Graham King, it was cut for "tonal issues".
- During pre-production of Tomb Raider 2, it was rumoured that Jolie was being eyed for a role in the new film that wasn't Lara Croft.
- According to Meagan Marie, Jolie's team has been contacted several times by Crystal Dynamics regarding an interview, most notably for the 20th Anniversary of Tomb Raider book. Whilst she was too busy for an interview, as she was shooting Maleficent at the same time, she expressed admiration for the series and its fans through an agent.
- Both she and her successor, Alicia Vikander, are Academy Award winners.
- Jolie met her first adopted son, Maddox, whilst filming the first movie in Cambodia.
- Jolie's father, John Voight, plays Richard Croft opposite to her as Lara in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). Jolie stated that it gave them an opportunity to reconnect. However, as of 2021, they are no longer on speaking terms.
- Voight and Jane Fonda called Lara Croft: Tomb Raider producer Sherry Lansing ahead of her casting to warn that Jolie was "extremely fragile". When Simon West travelled to Mexico, they discussed the studio's concerns over her public image, Jolie came up with the idea of undergoing daily drug tests.
- Psychotherapist and drug management expert Bobby Klein was hired to keep a watchful eye over Jolie during production.