Going to great lengths for this role! A new book claims that Angelina Jolie agreed to random drug testing to score her part in 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
According to an excerpt published by The Hollywood Reporter of a new biography of former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing, the movie studio was worried about casting the then-relatively unknown young actress. In the early 2000s, she was dating (and later married) Billy Bob Thornton and carried his blood around her neck in a vial, and there were rumors that she was using drugs.
“She definitely had some baggage and something of a dark reputation,” director Simon West said in the book. “Funnily enough, that was one of my selling points: This trouble and dangerous aspect in her reputation actually helped the character.”
Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, and family friend Jane Fonda called Lansing to “warn her that the actress was extremely fragile,” the biography claims. Lansing and West then agreed that the director would fly down to meet Jolie on the Mexico set of Original Sin. “She said: ‘Look, I want to do it, but I know what my reputation is, and I’ll do anything you want to prove that I’m worthy. I’ll be reliable and I’ll turn up, and I’ll work hard,’” West recalled. “She said, ‘I don’t care if the studio wants to drug test me every day.’”
While negotiating for the part, the now-Oscar winner had to undergo random drug tests. Paramount’s president at the time, John Goldwyn, claimed in the book, “We were sufficiently worried that we obliged her to undergo random drug tests — and not just urine tests but also blood tests.” According to the excerpt, she passed all of them.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider went on become a box office hit. It made $275 million and spurred a sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life.