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Angelina Jolie Landed Her Tomb Raider Role Under One Condition

While "Eternals" arguably wasn't what people expected and "Those Who Wish Me Dead" most assuredly didn't do as well as some would have predicted (via Box Office Mojo), it's unlikely most would argue the fact that Angelina Jolie remains one of the most adept players in the industry. She has been a force to be reckoned with since even before her days as Lara Croft in the first "Tomb Raider" film, and has had quite a rewarding career overall.

Angelina Jolie has many impressive roles, like her performance in "Girl, Interrupted" or the time she was part of a killer marriage in "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." And who could forget the box office hit "Maleficent" or her fan-favorite turn in "Wanted." While these are all stellar examples of excellent credits on Jolie's stacked resumé, one role that stands out as a game-changer is "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." The video game franchise the film is based on has been a pretty big deal for some time, and it was reported on April 21, 2022, that Square Enix has sold more than 88 million units worldwide.

Jolie played Ms. Croft in the 2001 feature and its 2003 sequel, earning a combined total of over $400 million (via Box Office Mojo) with Jolie as the titular character, solidifying her run as the dual-wielding relic hunter as an overall success. But before she took on the role, Jolie would only be allowed to be in the movie if she agreed to a very specific and very personal condition.

Angelina Jolie had to pass daily drug tests

When Jolie was cast for the part, she was only 24 years old and had much less star power. But one thing she did have that didn't do her any favors was a wild reputation.

The baggage she had attained from her infamous lifestyle off-set and the press that followed was a cause for concern with the studio. To protect their investment and make sure she didn't become a liability on set or, worse, halt the production, Jolie would have to submit to blood and urine analysis. People would also have to be hired to look after her physical and mental well-being during production. But despite all the criticism and doubt, Jolie was determined to play Croft and take on the challenge no matter what stood in her way. Director Simon West talked about the ordeal in the book "Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker." In an excerpt (via People), West recalled, "[Jolie] 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.'" The filmmaker went on to say, "She said, 'I don't care if the studio wants to drug test me every day.'"

With the odds against her, she managed not to let it slow her down. In the end, Jolie passed all the tests, exceeded expectations, and overall had a truly remarkable experience.

Angelina Jolie proved everyone wrong

It doesn't seem like any of the hoops she had to jump through deterred her performance, and she appears to have thoroughly enjoyed her experience on "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." In a throwback interview from E! Insider, Angelina Jolie discussed her feelings about Lara Croft and what went into playing the character on the big screen.

"I love this character, and I wanted to go on this adventure. And I wanted to live this life for a while, and I wanted to train for months, and be really healthy and learn skills and get stronger." She made sure that her performance would appease longtime fans of the franchise and that she could handle the role's physical demands. Jolie went on to say she trained for two and a half months before filming and during the production, and she was schooled in dog sledding, weapons assembly, and firing a vast array of firearms to become the video game legend.

Her valiant efforts to do the persona justice and not let anything stand in her way proved worthwhile, securing her status as a big blockbuster star that would eventually lead Jolie to a slew of successful movies.