Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie is set to return to the Kingdom today to shoot an advertising campaign for fashion label Louis Vuitton in Siem Reap, but those connected with the visit have remained tight lipped about her agenda.
Jolie has strong ties to the Kingdom through her adopted Cambodian child Maddox, philanthropic enterprises and leading role in the 2001 action movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which was partially shot in Cambodia.
She has been a regular visitor to Cambodia and is believed to have last graced its shores in 2006.
Chief economic officer of the Cambodian Film Commission, Cedric Eloy, yesterday confirmed his organisation will shoot the label’s advert with the star in Siem Reap but said giving any other details would make a rushed situation even more hectic. Jolie, he said, would set foot in Cambodia today.
“Actually her schedule is really managed by her team, so it’s independent from the production that surrounds it,” he said.
Internationally renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz was scheduled to shoot Jolie, according to comments made by information minister Khieu Khanarith reported by the Cambodian news website DAP News.
But Eloy yesterday denied this was the case.
In 2003, Jolie established the Maddox Jolie-Foundation, later renamed the Maddox Jolie-Pitt foundation, which was established to tackle environmental degradation in Battambang’s Samlot district.
The organisation has since spread its wings to tackle broader conservation issues, education and infrastructure projects in Battambang province as well as rural development United Nation millennium goals, according to its website. Staff at the Maddox Jolie-Pitt foundation yesterday said they were unaware that the famous founder of their organisation was coming to visit the Kingdom.
“Our colleagues have not been informed by Ms Jolie or Brad Pitt so I think it is just a story,” said Narith, a general resources manager at the foundation who declined to give his full name.
Louis Vuitton staff members were unable to reply to questions by the time The Post went to press.
In September last year, producer Thomas Magyar announced he was hoping to secure Jolie for a US$70 million production to be filmed in Cambodia, tentatively titled The Great Khmer Empire. Eloy said today’s shoot had nothing to do with that project.
Jolie’s first major encounter with the Kingdom was back in 2001 when she acrobatically darted around the temples of Angkor Wat in the 2001 action movie Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
The movie was a box office smash-hit, though critics were less enthused by the high paced adventures of the voluptuous heroine, adopted from a popular video game.
Her relationship with Cambodia became more intimate in 2002 when she and then husband, Billy Bob Thornton, adopted a Cambodian boy they named Maddox.
Jolie’s union with Maddox then attracted the eye of criminal investigators pursuing Lauryn Galindo, the facilitator of the adoption who eventually pleaded guilty to charges related to her misrepresentation of the status of orphans in 2004.