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LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE

About The Production
Having years of experience working as a cinematographer on such films as "Lethal Weapon 3," "Basic Instinct" and "Die Hard," director Jan Dc Bont came to "The Cradle of Life" with acutely developed camera-handling skills as well as directorial talents. It was his goal to make the film as visually stunning as he could, and to do so, De Bont played an integral part in assembling a topnotch crew to achieve the jaw-dropping action sequences audiences will love.

One of De Bont's biggest coups was securing the editing talents of triple OscarĀ® winner Michael Kahn, a man well-versed in action adventures who has collaborated with Steven Spielberg on "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "Schindler's List" and "Saving Private Ryan." In addition, many of the people who helped make the first "Tomb Raider" memorable returned to work more magic, including production designer Kirk M. Petruccelli ("The Patriot," "The Last Castle").

"The tombs in this film vary from the classical version of an ornate subterranean museum, like the Luna Temple, to a modern underground glass office, such as Dr. Reiss' laboratory," says Petruccel Ii. "In addition, Lara also encounters a cave of Terracotta Soldiers, in which one false move can mean permanent entombment, as well as the tomb of Shadow Warriors, whose vile creatures can trigger your darkest fears and entomb your mind. The last tomb, which plays with your viewpoint of reality, is the Inner Quadrant that leads to Pandora's Box, and that's Lara's most dangerous venture of all."

Once the vision of the various tombs was conceived, Petruccelli, along with his gifted art department and a construction team, proceeded to create and build 102 sets on three continents: Africa, Asia and Europe.

"The biggest construction, in terms of sheer scope, scale and mechanics, was the Luna Temple on Pinewood's 007 stage," recalls Petruccelli. "Since it opens the film, we focused a lot of energy on making it magnificent."

Dominated by a 15-foot bronze statue of Alexander the Great, the Luna Temple set features Doric columns, around which four 7-foot, 6-inch urns stand. These urns, sculpted in clay, were then spun in plaster and cast in fiberglass. Large bronze horses pulling a pair of chariots complete the picture of the extravagant temple, which wasn't very easy to build. Since it's supposed to be viewed after an earthquake, the temple is partly submerged underwater, and the floor of the set rests at a 45-degree angle, making it an intensely difficult set on which to work.

On the back lot at Pinewood Studios, the construction crew created one of the most intriguing sets of all: the Flower Pagoda Square, ostensibly in Shanghai. Built for a complicated stunt sequence, the set was authentic down to the last detail. In fact, set decorator Sonja Klaus sent her assistant to Hong Kong to purchase authentic items — as unique as dried lizards and thousand-year-old eggs for the lantern stall, the paint shop, the tea shop (offering 20 different kinds of tea!) and the bicycle repair store, all of which surrounded the square. Even the paper that lined the drawers in the dry goods store featured in this sequence came from mainland China.

In addition, because the sequence was filmed at night, there were hundreds of neon signs lighting up the darkened sky. Also, because authenticity was key, a

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