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Take Every Precaution
Beyond the difficulties involved in working with the tigers were the complicated logistical challenges involved with filming in remote locations. Shooting in the temples took an enormous amount of preparation.

"The quality of the vegetation and the light is so fantastic, we needed to start a month before the end of the rainy season,” explains line producer Xavier Castano.

"The temples of Angkor are some of the most popular tourist attractions in the world,” Castano continues. "This meant that all the tour operators had to be informed months in advance that certain temples would be closed and precisely when. We worked very closely with APSARA, the authorities for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap, who are in charge of research, protection and conservation of cultural heritage, as well as urban and tourist development. We enjoyed a really wonderful relationship with them.”

Annaud says, "We were shooting in one of the Seven Wonders of the World, so we had to take every precaution to make sure that there was no damage to the location.” Castano explains, "Architects and archaeologists established an agenda which involved laying in miles of sandbag trails to buffer the vibrations, bundling and protecting all the areas where the crew was to pass with foam-covered boards shielding the bas-reliefs. It was such a big job that we had to define each camera position months in advance.”

Although the temples near Angkor were easily accessible from Siem Riep, the other locations were not as simple to get to. For example, Kbal Spean, a beautiful river full of carved 11th century Linga and Yoni (symbols of worship for the god Siva and goddess Sakti), is situated 60 km from Siem Reap and can only be reached after a 30 minute hike up a mountain. Most of the equipment, as well as the tigers, had to be airlifted in by helicopter. Other supplies were carried by porters or taken in on horseback.

Another difficult location was the mountainous area of Phnom Koulen, which was the final stronghold of the Khmer Rouge leaders, who were there until 1998. In 1992, an average of 600 Cambodians a month were killed or maimed by landmines and unexploded ordinances. The Cambodian government and the UN established CMAC (Cambodian Mine Action Center) to free the people from that threat. Despite their efforts, experts estimate that there are still between four and six million mines left in Cambodia.

Explains Castano, "Because the area was still full of mines, we had to employ a complete CMAC de-mining unit a month before we were scheduled to shoot there. It was very complicated because normally they clear all the vegetation before beginning to de-mine, but we needed virgin vegetation for our film. Finally, we managed to work out a way to de-mine the area thoroughly without cutting the vegetation. After we began shooting, we kept the CMAC unit with us as a precaution.” The crew was constantly warned not to stray from the marked de-mined areas.

The production also had to construct new roads to be able to access Phnom Koulen, which took two months and 10 bridges to complete. Despite the improved roads, Phnom Koulen was still over 90 minutes by car from Siem Riep. One of the scenes in Phnom Koulen was of Aidan leading a tiger hunt for the Prince, with McRory and his party riding on the backs of elephants. The elephants themselves came from Angkor, where they normally carry tourists to the top of the Bakheng temple to watch the sunset. To deliver the pachyderms to the set, their keepers rode the elephants from Siem Riep all the way to Phnom Koulen, camping out in the jungle at night.

Assembling a local crew in Cambodia, where few feature films have been shot, proved to be an additional challenge. Castano recalls, "We advertised on the radio and in the newspapers, resulting i

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