Copyright 2000 Paramount Pictures

[ August 1st 2000 ]

Paramount Pictures' eagerly anticipated screen version of "Tomb Raider," starring Academy Award(R) winner Angelina Jolie, has begun principal photography in London. Directed by Simon West ("The General's Daughter," "Con Air"), the live-action feature film is inspired by the most popular interactive video character in history -- Lara Croft. Beautiful and brainy, Lara is the heroine of Eidos Interactive's phenomenally successful "Tomb Raider" video game series.

The film is produced by Lawrence Gordon ("Die Hard," "Predator," "48 Hours"), Lloyd Levin ("Boogie Nights") and Colin Wilson ("Jurassic Park: The Lost World"). Charles Cornwall, Eidos' chief executive officer, is the executive producer, and Bobby Klein is the co-producer. The screenplay is by Patrick Massett & John Zinman and Simon West. "Tomb Raider" will be released by Paramount Pictures in the summer of 2001. Says director Simon West, "Lara Croft is the greatest female action adventure heroine of our time, perhaps of all time. This is a unique opportunity to develop her personality and bring her to a wider audience. The prospect of bringing Lara to life while putting a fresh spin on this genre is very exciting."

Adds producer Lloyd Levin, "'Tomb Raider' and its heroine, Lara Croft, is a worldwide cultural phenomenon, rich in character, story and a cutting edge sensibility that's begging to be made into a movie." Producer Lawrence Gordon comments, "With Angelina Jolie we have the perfect marriage of actress and character." The arch villain in the film, Powell, adversary of Lara Croft's father, Lord Croft, and now Lara's sworn enemy, will be played by the gifted stage and screen actor Iain Glen. Glen was Nicole Kidman's leading man when she made her stage debut in London in "The Blue Room." The award winning Scottish actor's previous films include "Gorillas in the Mist," "Mountains of the Moon," "Silent Scream," and "Fools of Fortune."

Lara Croft's occasional accomplice is played by Daniel Craig, the fast- rising young actor whose recent films include "Elizabeth," "I Dreamed of Africa," "Some Voices," and "Hotel Splendide." Veteran Leslie Phillips, whose film career spans six decades, has been cast as Wilson, a former admirer of Lord Croft who has now turned against him and joined forces with Powell. Further casting will be announced shortly. The cast and crew will travel to distant Cambodia and Iceland for exterior sequences, as well as working on famous London locations. They will also shoot on the soundstages of Pinewood Studios, outside London, where the world of Lara Croft is being created in stunning scale.

Dominating the massive 007 stage (the biggest soundstage in Europe) is the kind of awesome set that is guaranteed to excite, where a fiendish battle to the death will be fought. On another stage the splendid Croft mansion is rising phoenix-like, a credit to the master craftsmen who are creating it. In computer-filled offices at Pinewood Studios, visuals are emerging to bring the world's most popular interactive video character to life. Preparing for the role of her career to date, Angelina Jolie embarked on a strenuous training routine -- incorporating gymnastics, bungee jumping, weapons, motorcycle riding, kick boxing, martial arts and weights. In addition to the Oscar(R), "Girl, Interrupted" also brought Angelina Jolie her third Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

She earned her first Golden Globe Award for TNT's "George Wallace" and her second for HBO's "Gia." The latter two also brought her Emmy Award nominations. Since winning the Oscar(R), Jolie has starred with Nicolas Cage in the hit, "Gone In Sixty Seconds," and she has completed "Original Sin" with Antonio Banderas. Prior to "Girl, Interrupted," Jolie co-starred in "The Bone Collector," "Pushing Tin" and "Playing By Heart," for which she was awarded the Breakthrough Performance Award by the National Board of Review. Jolie also co-starred in "Playing God" and starred in "Foxfire," "Hackers" and Hallmark Hall of Fame's "True Women."

Award winning director Simon West was born in Britain but has, in recent years, worked largely from the United States. He views "Tomb Raider" as an opportunity to return to his homeland for the kind of international roller coaster that shows British technicians and expertise at their finest. One of Britain's most experienced producers, Chris Kenny ("Batman," "Empire of the Sun"), takes on the job of Unit Production Manager, and the filmmakers have attracted a roster of experienced and creative technicians: production designer Kirk Petruccelli ("The Patriot," "Mystery Men," "Murder In The First") with his supervising art directors Leslie Tomkins and John Fenner and a gifted crew are bringing the script to life. Australian Peter Menzies, Jr. ("The General's Daughter," "A Time To Kill," "Die Hard With A Vengeance") is the director of photography.

Costume designer Lindy Hemming won an Oscar(R) for Mike Leigh's "Topsy Turvy" (other credits include "The World Is Not Enough," "Tomorrow Never Dies," "GoldenEye," "Four Weddings And A Funeral"). The stunt coordinator is Simon Crane ("The World Is Not Enough," "Saving Private Ryan," "Titanic"). The special effects supervisor is Chris Corbould ("The World Is Not Enough," "The Mummy," "Tomorrow Never Dies"). Glen Scantlebury ("The General's Daughter," "Armageddon," "Con Air," "Bram Stoker's Dracula") is the editor.

Lara Croft has become a worldwide phenomenon since her debut in 1996. She is the first female to star in her own action game series, which comprises the original "Tomb Raider" along with "Tomb Raider II," "Tomb Raider III: The Adventures of Lara Croft" and the recent "Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation." With total sales reaching 21 million units, the games have each topped the PlayStation and PC game best-seller lists. Assertive, resourceful and independent, Lara is the first virtual celebrity to hold her own in a world of flesh and blood, non-virtual stars. She's appeared on more than 200 magazine covers around the globe; Time magazine featured her in a major story in December 1999; and she has graced the pages of Newsweek, Rolling Stone, and Entertainment Weekly's "It" issue (which feted the 100 most creative people in entertainment).

In addition, Details magazine heralded Lara as one of the "Sexiest Women of the Year" (the only virtual celebrity so chosen), and The Times of London recently devoted a special 16-page supplement to her. Time Digital included Lara on a list of the 50 cyber-elite in America, ranking her among Bill Gates, Andy Grove, Steve Jobs and George Lucas. In addition, Lara has pitched products on television commercials in the U.S., Europe and Asia; she is the subject of more than 1,000 internet fan sites, each created independently of Eidos; and merchandise -- including 11 different action figures, t-shirts, candy bars and a monthly comic book. In all, total game sales and related merchandise has generated $500 million in sales. Her success has inspired the world-famous Elite Modeling Agency to devote an entire division to developing virtual models, and other companies are now following suit.

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