JOLIE AWED BY ANKGOR TEMPLES
Copyright 2000 Reuters

[ November 30th 2000 ]

As filming continues around the religious Temples of Angkor Wat, Tomb Raider star Angelina Jolie takes time out to talk about filming in Cambodia.

Hollywood bad girl Angelina Jolie, star of next summer's blockbuster "Tomb Raider," says filming scenes for the movie at Cambodia's fabled Angkor temple complex has changed her life. "I feel very blessed and very lucky to be able to be part of this film, part of this whole experience,'' Jolie told a news conference in the northern town of Siem Reap.

"This has changed my life being here in this country...It makes me feel differently about everything -- about my life, about work, about what we can all do,'' said 25-year-old Jolie, who won an Oscar (tm) for best supporting actress for her role in 1999's "Girl, Interrupted.'' "It's the most amazing place I've ever been to in my life,'' the poised actress said, defying the image her tattoos, frank talk and off-set antics have earned her.

The big-budget "Tomb Raider," based on a popular computer game of the same name, wrapped up a week of filming in Cambodia on Monday. The movie is to be completed by the end of the year and released in U.S. theaters on June 15, said unit publicist Susan D'Arcy. Jolie, whose real-life father Jon Voight plays her character's father in the movie, said her experiences filming at the 9th-12th century temple complex were personally moving and professionally challenging.

Awed By Angkor Jolie -- who married actor Billy Bob Thornton earlier this year and made headlines around the world when she and her new husband talked in detail about their sex life -- said she was truly awed by the Angkor complex. "We spent eight months together, including training and filming, with everybody shooting this film and running around and making a movie. Suddenly we got to Angkor Wat and everybody got really happy, really quiet and really friendly, and the entire film just calmed down,'' Jolie said.

Jolie said she trained for months to play the part of Lara Croft the gun-toting lead character in the film. "I loved the spirit of it and the adventure of it and I wanted to go on an adventure. I wanted to spend months in training and learn every different skill possible. I wanted to go bungie-jumping and motorcycle riding and canoeing and I wanted to see Iceland and Cambodia and I wanted to tell this story.'' But neither Jolie nor producer Lloyd Levin were very specific in summarizing the story. ``Lara saves the world...but there are a couple twists and turns along the way,'' said Levin. ``One of the underlying themes is about the connectedness between the past and the present and the future and peoples from all over the world,'' he said.

Jolie was even more cagey: "It's a mystery...It's the world's puzzle. It's the puzzle of life and history.'' Jolie will return to Cambodia early next year to film Oliver Stone's "Beyond Borders.'' Though eager to call Thornton after the news conference -- "I have only an hour left to call Billy,'' she said on her way through the hotel lobby -- the willowy, dark-haired Jolie said she wasn't quite ready to leave Cambodia. "This place is just amazing to me. Everything about it is just amazing. I was under this beautiful waterfall with this most amazing jungle around me...It was lovely. It's hard to talk about. I'm overwhelmed by this place,'' she said.

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