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.
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
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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