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Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com Source: LA Times

[ May 7th 2001 ]

With very little computer generated imagery sown into the final cut of Paramount Pictures Tomb Raider movie, Oscar winner Lara Croft star Angelina Jolie talks to the LA Times about the challenges an actor faces when performing in a virtual environment.

The irony is that as digital systems become sophisticated to the point where virtually anything can be simulated, filmmakers increasingly strive for physical reality. Paramount's "Tomb Raider," which is based on the highly popular video game, might at first seem like the perfect CGI movie, given its roots. But the film (directed by Simon West) features surprisingly little digital trickery, relying instead on practical effects and stunts, and real locations, including a once-forbidden temple in Cambodia. Star Angelina Jolie, playing a kind of female Indiana Jones, had only one sequence in the film in which she had to perform against nothing: a sword-fight sequence with digitally created stone monkey idols.

"It was like doing a very strange dance with a sword, all by myself," Jolie recalls. "It was only difficult in that you don't have any kind of clue what to do next, it all has to be in your imagination and your memory. You have to remember that you're looking at something and turn as if something's behind you." Still, Jolie (who has yet to see the finished sequence and confesses, "I'll probably be the first one to be shocked" by it) found the reality of the location shoot more unusual than miming a fight against stone monkeys. "It's actually stranger to be standing amongst the ruins of these ancient temples in the middle of Cambodia, with this outfit on, and running and jumping from place to place, and really being in the center of 50 monks giving you a blessing," she says. "That was much more shocking, and beautiful, and I couldn't believe I was there."

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