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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Jolie and 'Tomb Raider' set to storm Angkor Wat

Jolie and 'Tomb Raider' set to storm Angkor Wat


Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, above, is bound for Angkor Wat

SECTIONS of the historic Angkor Wat complex in Siem Reap will go Hollywood this October

as actress Angelina Jolie and a Paramount Pictures film crew of approximately 250

are expected to do location shots for a new motion picture based on the popular Tomb

Raiders video game series.

The Apsara Authority, which oversees conservation activities at Angkor Wat, is expected

to finalize within days an agreement with Paramount allowing about two weeks of filming

in and around the Angkor Wat site.

The film was inspired by a recent version of the "Tomb Raiders" video game

series that involved the "Tomb Raiders" archeologist heroine Lara Croft

negotiating a virtual Angkor Wat environment in search of lost treasure.

The film stars Jolie (Girl Interrupted) in the lead role and is scheduled for a summer

2001 release.

Apsara Authority spokesman Ang Choulean told the Post that athough negotiations with

Paramount were ongoing, he was confident a deal would be signed.

"Officially there is not yet any agreement [between Apsara and Paramount Pictures],

but I hope that the filming can take place," he said.

A Paramount Pictures UK press statement issued in early August expressed no such

reservations, stating that location filming was already scheduled for both Cambodia

and Iceland.

Studio filming is already under way at England's Pinewood Studios, where Jolie is

being coached by a Cambodian on lines of Khmer-language dialogue that have been written

into the script.

The Paramount Pictures press release said Jolie had been put on a extremely physical

training regimen to prepare for the role, including "...gymnastics, bungee jumping,

kickboxing, weight training and the use of machine guns."

According to Choulean, though negotiations with Paramount have resolved Apsara's

concerns about any possible physical threat the filming might pose to the Angkor

site, doubts about the benefit the film might provide to Angkor's international image

have been expressed.

"To tell you the truth, we would have preferred a romantic film ... we don't

want to give the world an image of Angkor as a tomb," Choulean said.

"I don't know what impact this kind of adventure film might have on Angkor's

image, but they [Paramount Pictures representatives] have assured me that this film

will have no blood or violence, only some guns."

Tomb Raiders will mark the second time in 36 years that Angkor Wat has been a location

for a Hollywood production.

In 1964 Lord Jim, starring Peter O'Toole, was filmed in and around Angkor Wat. Lord

Jim is credited by Cambodian historian David Chandler with prompting Prince Sihanouk

to embark on the production of nine films between 1965 and 1969.



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