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LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER: THE CRADLE OF LIFE

Location
In the course of a six-month global shoot, the "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life" cast and crew packed their bags several times to travel far from the company's home base, Pinewood Studios in leafy Buckinghamshire, just outside London. Production started in Greece, then ventured to Wales, moved on to Africa to discover Kenya and Tanzania, and continued on to Hong Kong and mainland China.

The curtain raiser for the film took place on the paradise island of Santorini, in Greece. Colonized by the Minoans in 3000 B.C., the volcanic island erupted in 1450 B.C., forming Santorini's crescent shape. In fact, the island is widely believed to be a candidate for the lost kingdom of Atlantis, making it that much more an appropriate place to film a Lara Croft adventure. Named Thira by the Dorians when they settled in the eighth century B.C., Santorini is a favored holiday destination, a stunning island of white villages clinging to volcanic cliffs above black sand beaches.

Back in the UK, the production crew prepared for their second location, in the principality of Wales, where scenes would be filmed in the mountains of Snowdonia. Though the location in North Wales sported sophisticated facilities, unfortunately cell phones frequently hit dead zones, making communication during filming that much more difficult.

For the purpose of "The Cradle of Life," Wales doubled as China, and the construction team built a wonderfully convincing Chinese village by a picturesque lake, with a traditional water mill for an authentic Asian feel. Extras for scenes shot here were culled from the local Chinese populations as far afield as Liverpool.

One of the toughest sequences filmed in Wales took place in a forbidding slate quarry. This featured a stomach-churning fight scene in which Angelina Jolie and Gerard Butler, as Lara Croft and Terry Sheridan, attempt a daring escape from their Chinese captors upside down! With their guns blazing, on a rig that drops them approximately 150 feet down a sheer slate mountain, the actors — not stunt doubles plunged right into the perilous scene, while director Jan De Bont captured the dramatic moment as the ground rushed toward them.

Next, the cast and crew geared up for the "Tomb Raider" African adventure. After landing in Kenya, the production traveled from one side of the country to another, filming in the famed Rift Valley, game reserves, remote hideaways and busy Nairobi thoroughfares.

Situated on the equator, Kenya has the second highest mountain in Africa. Rising from a natural environment of exceptional beauty, the snow-tipped peaks of Mount Kenya add to the country's dramatically diverse geography seen in the film, including Desert Rose, a magical and very exclusive hideaway near Lake Turkana. In this region, many of the African natives have never seen anyone outside their village, let alone a film crew from a whole world away.

For "The Cradle of Life," members of the Pokot tribe were recruited to play a mysterious tribe that Lara Croft discovers in Africa. The Pokot come from a small village called Loruk, near Lake Baringo in northwest Kenya. A nomadic people, they wear simple traditional clothing made of goatskin, and in their region, there are approximately 20,000 Pokot. Most have never seen a film, and only a few, who live in nearby towns with electricity, have even seen television. Their interpreter had heard of the<

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