In the first of our retrospective look backs on shoots we have hosted in Southeast Asia, we turn the clock back 15 years to the Millennium when Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig and the Tomb Raider crew came to Angkor.
Tomb Raider was the first major Hollywood film to shoot in Cambodia since Peter O’Toole starred in Lord Jim in 1964. The Tomb Raider crew were all set to travel to China to film the Terracotta Army coming to life, when the sequence was pulled at the last minute, as it had already been featured in a Chinese movie. Cambodia was next on the list and Hanuman Films was chosen for scouting at Angkor. Following a successful scout with a full technical crew, Paramount British Pictures appointed Hanuman Films as their local servicing partner in the Kingdom of Cambodia. Our previous experience involved shooting the Lonely Planet TV Cambodia episode with Presenter Ian Wright and a crew of five!
Kulikar Sotho worked as Local Liason Manager, or Line Producer, arranging all filming permissions, script approval, temporary import/re-export of equipment, visas, accommodation, transport and catering for the production. Nick Ray worked as Location Manager on the film, selecting locations for the shoot, building a photographic inventory of the temples used in shooting, approving all sets or alterations to be made at each site and working with local authorities every step of the way to ensure this first sensitive shoot at Angkor passed without incident.
Hanuman Films also took responsibility for recruitment ofa large team of translators, hundreds of extras, site security and an army of labourers.
Tomb Raider premiered on June 15th 2001 at Mann’s Theatre in Los Angeles. Nick and Kulikar were both invited to the premiere and stayed with Producer Lloyd Levin.
Notable milestones passed during production included:
- Securing the support of the Council of Ministers for the project to go ahead, despite some high level objections;
- Obtaining permission to build a traditional floating village on the royal pond at Angkor Wat;
- Getting nine containers over the roads from hell in the middle of the wet season, taking five days for the trucks to cover just 320km;
- Juggling the shooting schedule around the state visit of President Jiang Zemin of China and King Norodom Sihanouk to Angkor;
- Arranging the safe arrival of 30 or so servicing vehicles from Thailand, another nightmare journey that required two army units to build bridges along the way.
Locations: Angkor Wat, Ta Prohm temple, Phnom Bakheng, East Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Phnom Kulen
Actors: Angelina Jolie, Daniel Craig, hundreds of local extras, the temples of Angkor