Tom Cunneff
March 12, 2001 12:00 PM

In her upcoming adventure Tomb Raider, Angelina Jolie takes no guff as action heroine Lara Croft. But the actress demonstrated a true sense of derring-do during a recent trip to Sierra Leone on behalf of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Jolie visited a refugee camp to research ways for charitable organizations to help the impoverished, war-torn West African country.

First Julia Roberts gave up half of her customary $20 million salary to help The Mexican get made. Now I hear she also shelled out roughly $40,000 for the wrap party at the Mandalay Bay-hotel in Las Vegas because money was tight on the $35 million film. Roberts finagled the private use of the hotel’s pool, which has a wave machine, for the shindig. Her costar Brad Pitt, who also halved his $20 million fee, threw a similar party earlier in the production. Everybody had such a good time, Roberts decided to do it again. The one big difference: The hotel made the waves twice as big for Roberts’s bash.

The audience went wild when Rod Stewart joined Ally McBeal’s Vonda Shepard to sing “This Old Heart of Mine” at the TV Guide Awards. Except Martin Sheen, The West Wing star didn’t know who the rocker was until his daughter Renee helped him out. “I thought it was Wayne Newton,” said a sheepish Sheen. “I know Bob Dylan, I know Bruce Springsteen. But I don’t know anyone else.”

In the ’80s John Malkovich tried to get The Talented Mr. Ripley made, but numerous problems arose, and it never happened. (Matt Damon eventually starred in the 1999 film.) Now Malkovich is getting his chance to play Tom Ripley. Production on Ripley’s Game, the third book in the series by Patricia Highsmith about the psychopathic imposter, began in January in Italy. Malkovich was eager to get into the character since he spent much of last year directing The Dancer Upstairs, a thriller. “It was about time to go back to my day job,” he says.

Lome Michaels and the cast of Saturday Night Live gathered at Manhattan’s Hudson Hotel to throw Molly Shannon a going-away party. After an impressive feast in the $5,000-a-night suite, they presented Shannon with a huge cake inscribed, “Best of Luck, Molly.” Shannon, who’s been with SNL for six years, is leaving to concentrate on a film career, including the comedy Wet Hot American Summer.

It’s that time of year again. I’m talking about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, of course. Not to be outdone, More magazine, which caters to women over 40, is coming out once again with its own version in May. Michelle Phillips, Alana Stewart, Morgan Fairchild and Janice Dickinson posed for the issue, but they didn’t travel to an exotic locale. Instead they ended up shooting in chilly L.A. They were supposed to go to Palm Springs but cancelled when Stewart went into rehearsals for C-Cup, a play about body image slated to open in L.A. on March 3.

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