Will she ever eat lunch in this town again?
Sherry Lansing—the former head of Paramount Studios and the producer of movies such as Fatal Attraction, Indecent Proposal and The Accused—has produced a tell-all biography, Leading Lady, which is shaping up to be quite a sensation.
The Hollywood Reporter has run a couple of excerpts from the keenly awaited tome, and one of the best stories concerns a young Angelina Jolie and her sobriety coach on the set of the first Tomb Raider movie.
According to an excerpt from Lansing’s biography, due out next month, Jolie, then 24, volunteered to undergo random drug testing to secure the part—an offer the studio took her up on.
Jolie took frequent blood and urine drug tests throughout the shoot, according to Lansing, who chose The Hollywood Reporter senior editor Stephen Galloway to author her bio.
According to director Simon West, Galloway writes, Jolie had a “dark reputation” at that time (early 2000), which included rumors that she dabbled in drugs.
“She was plagued by damaging reports about her personal life, rumored to have dabbled in drugs, and to have had an odd relationship with her brother, along with an even odder one with soon-to-be husband Billy Bob Thornton, whose blood she reportedly carried around her neck in a vial,” Galloway writes.
But, as director Simon West writes, that was part of the attraction: “This troubled and dangerous aspect in her reputation actually helped the character,” he says.
Lansing was concerned, however, “especially when Jon Voight (Jolie’s father) and Jane Fonda (a family friend) called to warn her that the actress was extremely fragile.”
With Lansing’s blessing, West flew to Mexico to meet Jolie on the set of the thriller 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,’” recalled West. “She said, ‘I don’t care if the studio wants to drug test me every day.’”
Lansing met with Jolie. “She was beyond beautiful,” she said. “She was smart, she was strong.” Negotiations commenced, and so did the drug tests. Said then-Paramount President John Goldwyn, “We were sufficiently worried that we obliged her to undergo random drug tests—and not just urine tests but also blood tests.”
A member of the production crew told Galloway that the next step was to make sure she had “spiritual and psychological support,” on set, and for this job, they selected a former photographer turned life coach named Bobby Klein.
Klein spent several weeks on the film in pre-production, and is described by producer Larry Gordon as follows: “He was dressed all in black. He’s a weird-looking guy with a white beard and white hair. He’s very esoteric and gives me a thing that if you wear it, you can’t get cancer, some bullshit thing.”
Galloway writes that the production crew “balked” when a health expert employed by Klein “wanted her to have milk baths and started talking about yoga and meditation and wanted to be the point person in charge of Angelina’s training... It was just this bullshit. It seemed like spiritual hokum.”
Tomb Raider made $275 million worldwide when it opened in June 2001, helped turn Jolie into a major star.