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MAXIMUM FILMS ON LARA DOCUMENTARY
Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com / www.thescotsman.co.uk

[ April 24th 2001 ]

Maximum Films, in association with Core Design, are currently filming the official Lara Croft documentary, and The Scotsman's Michelle Nichols ventured to Gordonstoun School for a sneak preview of proceedings as they unfolded:

She is an international phenomenon who has won the hearts of millions around the world and established herself as a 21st century icon. Cyber-geeks the world over log on for a slice of action with her; now she is ready for the transformation to the silver screen. A documentary film crew yesterday began filming at famous Gordonstoun School - where, according to Lara Croft's fictional CV spent her last two school years - in an attempt to discover her early influences. It's just a shame she isn't real. Lara is the star of the Tomb Raider video game and was "sent to Gordonstoun" when the game series started selling in its millions, and its creators started on a likely biography of their heroine. They picked Gordonstoun, which has educated three generations of royalty, for its breezy outdoor ethos, and emphasis on self-reliance and survival skills.

The one-hour Channel Five documentary, which will go on air in early July to coincide with the release of the Lara Croft movie starring Angelina Jolie, will show students attending lessons on geography, history, and lectures on ancient Egypt. The 15,000-a-year Morayshire school has given the film-makers unprecedented access to students, their rooms and lessons to present an accurate image of modern Gordonstoun. A group of sixth form girls at the school climbed, abseiled and endured assault courses for the cameras yesterday to give an insight into what may have inspired Lara to succeed. Gillian Moulsby, 18, said: "It's crazy, I thought Lara was a real person until last week. I've never played the game, but I can see why she was placed here by her creators. There is so much to do here, and from what I have seen of the Tomb Raider games all of it would have been vital for someone like Lara.

"I am in the same house as she was supposed to have been billeted - Windmill House - and all the girls there are more sporty than the rest. It's a kind of house tradition. I like climbing, sailing, and all the outdoor activities I can squeeze in. I suppose I am a bit like her." Some of the achievements by former pupils of Gordonstoun have easily justified Croft's possible attendance at the boarding school. Angela Hartness, development director at the school, said: "In addition to Lara Croft, Gordonstoun School was also attended by Polly Murray, who was the first Scottish woman to climb Mt Everest, and Rebecca Ridgeway, the first woman to canoe round Cape Horn. "I would say that Gordonstoun was chosen as Lara Crofft's school because of the way we develop our young people. It's not just the academic side we focus on but the complete person. She would have fitted in well with the ethos of Gordonstoun School, 'plus est en vous' and means 'There's more within you'."

The popularity of Croft - who boasts fairly unrealistic vital statistics of 34-24-35 - led Mr Somerville and his crew to go behind the scenes and develop the "definitive documentary" on the heroine. Mr Somerville said: "It is meant to be the definitive documentary on Lara Croft. We have been looking at the way she came to be. We have spoken to lots of different people to get their views on Lara and we have looked at how she grew from Lara Cruise to become Lara Croft. She had been named Lara Cruise to appeal to the Americans but then she was changed after they decided to use her Britishness as a peculiarity. We are being quite celebratory of it because it is one of the few British things that has been this successful. "Gordonstoun really is the right school for Lara Croft because it is so outdoorsy." The official biography of Croft has outlined her time in the sixth form at Gordonstoun, where she discovered her love of the mountains, her taste for adventure and an unnatural interest in firearms. The fees were presumably paid by her father, Lord Henshingly Croft of Wimbledon, London.

Director Dev Varma said he was staggered at how many Lara lookalikes were wandering the grounds of the school. "There are many mirror images in the school girls here, all seem to be inspired by Lara."

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