Building Lara's World
While Angelina Jolie trained, other depart ments began cranking up for the start of production. Producers Lawrence Gordon and Lloyd Levin were joined by Cohn Wilson, long an associate of Steven Spielberg, who began his career with Spielberg in the editing department of the "Indiana Jones" movies, and has since produced "The Lost World," "Amistad," "Small Soldiers" and "The Haunting."
An action film combining stunts and special effects necessitated the controlled environment of a studio, so the production team built two highly ambitious sets on Pinewood Studios' famed 007 Stage. At one end stood the Tomb of the Dancing Light and at the other, the Temple of Ten Thousand Shadows, the former linking to exterior scenes to be filmed in Cambodia, the latter to scenes set in Siberia (though filmed in Iceland).
The Tomb of the Dancing Light was a massive, four-story construction dominated at one end by a huge, six-armed Buddha. Around the tomb are stone monkey warriors, protecting it from harm.
The Temple of Ten Thousand Shadows was dominated by a gigantic orrery, defined in the dictionary as an apparatus for representing the positions, motions and phases of the planets and satellites in the solar system, named after Charles Boyle, Earl of Orrery, for whom it was first made.
In addition to the two sets on the 007 stage,
there was the interior of Croft Manor, a stimulating blend of British tradition and cutting edge technology appropriate for Lara Croft.
Production designer Kirk Petruccelli ("The Patriot," "Mystery Men") was supported by an experienced team of four art directors: Les
Tomkins, John Fenner, Jim Morahan and David Lee. Michael Redding, one of the most experienced construction managers in the film industry (he ran construction at Pinewood before the studio became a freelance operation) subsequently joined the team.
Petruccelli describes the film's sets as "a combination of ancient and super-modern influ ences to create a sort of timeless feel."
As the sets neared completion, with no fewer than one hundred sixty men working day and night to complete them, the Tomb of the Dancing Light set was revealed to the world during a live webcast in November 2000.
The filmmakers employed colorful real world locations in the film. Standing in for the exterior of Croft Manor is Hatfield House in
Hertfordshire, home of the Marquis of Salisbury. The Royal Naval College at Greenwich, chosen for its magnificent Painted Hall, became the chamber of the High Council of the Illuminati. Elvedon Hall, once the home of Duleep Singh, a maharajah from the Punjab, and now home of the Guinness family, was the perfect interior townhouse for the
cultured and sophisticated barrister, Manfred Powell.
As the sets were completed, special effects supervisor Chris Corbould ("The Mummy," "The World Is Not Enough") prepared his team for the film's considerable effects demands. Visual effects supervisor Steve Begg set up his state of the art machines to begin the marriage of practical and computer effects that has become a modern filmmaking technique.
Another key appointment was costume designer Lindy Hemming, an Oscar® winner for "Topsy Turvy" and veteran of the three most recent James Bond films.
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