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THE WIDESCREEN ADVENTURES OF LARA CROFT PT. ONE
[ 22 February 2022 ]
The Widescreen Adventures of Lara Croft (part one), available to watch for free on YouTube, is a well-nigh two hour documentary exploring production of the original Tomb Raider motion picture starring Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie. French producer Kilian offers an extensive examination of production, from the influence of the original video-game series, negotiations with studios and a deep-dive into the film-making process.
The documentary explores "official artwork, illustrations and narration of the planned storylines, deleted scenes, never-before-seen storyboards, testimonials and animations" and is the first of three planned projects focusing on the Tomb Raider motion pictures.
"I was always attached to this movie," Kilian tells tombraiderchronicles.com. "It was the first 'grown up' action movie I saw. I still remember the day my father came home with two DVDs and gave them to me (unfortunately the dub was in French Canadian) and I couldn't be happier because I was a fan of Tomb Raider."
This lit a flame in Kilian and he explains how his documentary came to life. "This project started after a search on Youtube about the movie, it might sound strange but I've always liked to understand how a movie was made and I watched a lot of videos talking about Angelina Jolie's movies but they weren't really interesting, it was always some harsh review or reviews filled with jokes or joke videos (like you know Cinemas Sins etc) but nothing that was going to give me an in-depth look into the production like some Youtubers have done for other films."
"So I decided to search if there were some books talking about them and I found one called 'Tales from Development Hell' by David Hughes and at the end of the chapter about Tomb Raider I realised I didn't know a single thing before about how it was a difficult task to make this movie, I was filled with a lot of questions and wanted to know more to write an article about it on Laraider (since no one really knew what happened)."
"I started to contact people who worked on the movie. I got in touch with Michael Colleary who was kind enough to answer questions and provided me a copy of his script written for the film with Mike Werb and also with the novelist Dave Stern. I spoke with Alexandre Serel, who was an author of a French book about Tomb Raider called 'L'Histoire de Tomb Raider', and he was interested because his chapter about the movies was missing a lot of things I had discovered. He told me it might be possible to work on an extra chapter for a re-edition of his book, but then Covid-19 happened and it was completely scraped."
Kilian decided to press on regardless. "I launched my channel Tomb Raider Files in September 2020 and kept the idea of doing a retrospective about the first movie in mind. Then I found and bought an original screenplay on Ebay and my curiosity piqued once more, I still wanted to tell this story. I produced a video called 'The Metafiction of Lara Croft' in 2021 and this was a good blue print and warm up to see if I could manage something this large in scale."
"At first I wanted to talk about the two movies combined but then I realised I wanted to give the two movies their time to shine independently. Then I thought why not include the reboot from 2018 which I already did a lot of research on." And thus production on The Widescreen Adventures of Lara Croft had begun.
Kilian goes on to discuss the creative process behind making his documentary. "Some decisions in the edit where done completely by instinct but I do remember my great friend Chamayoo saying to me 'you should do an 4/3 ratio video like your other one' and I did use his suggestion for the shooting part, and since the bonus scenes showing the actual shooting were in that format it helped at lot to find a direction. I remember showing to my friends Chamayoo, Sly and Tom a lot of my work before the release because I needed an outside opinion as the editing was taking me a long time and the more time passed the more I started to let go for days and I didn't know if what I was doing was right. Their comments on my work and their advice gave me the strength to finish the project, without them I don't think I could have finished."
"I also had in mind that Lara (from the game) was like a protagonist, searching for the good script, giving orders, reacting to the scripts she read. I found that idea to be a good and fun leading theme. I was supported by my friends and found great collaborations with Tomb Raider Collection, the singer Tom Penalva/Automne (a great friend and a great singer who as done all the sound technical aspect and the second voice over), Arnaud Olliver (also working with me on Laraider) who had managed to create his first animated project by working with me on a deleted scene (with extracts from the original screenplay) and also the storyboarder Martin Asbury who gave me his storyboards he made for a deleted sequence in Venice. For the writing part (which took me two years to write) I must say the excellent and interesting book 'Lights Camera Game Over' by Luke Owens (which is about the adaptations of video games to the big screen) helped me a lot to organise information and add context to the video as well as your numerous news archives that provided me a solid baseline to refer to."
"I also wanted to tell each of the stories rejected from the drafts and scripts but I wanted to be as visual than possible. I thought I could use the Tomb Raider comics by Top Cow so I passed hours to search for a good character pose or background to modify in Photoshop. It wasn't always easy but it was interesting to figure out which scenes I could work with."
As to the future of Tomb Raider on the silver screen, Kilian had this to say. "I really want to see Tomb Raider 2 start production this year, and I really want a more globe trotting adventure with the feel of a mix between reboot and classic Lara. I want to be amazed by the locations and thrilled by the action sequences, but I don't want to see a perfect Lara, I want to see her with flaws. Also I want to see a real motorcycle chase (we were robbed with the Volvo in the reboot)."
"I hope Anna, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, will be used as a central villain because she was great in the reboot for the short time she appeared on screen and this could lead to a lot of interesting scenes with Alicia, and it's about time we had a female villain in a TR movie. I hope in terms of a story to see something less copy and paste from the games. I want Misha to have fun with the adventure she writes and directs and not to conform with the vision 'it has to be like the game 100%.' Some liberties taken with the source material can give us something more surprising than to see the same scenes we played in the video-games. Also I want the supernatural to be used, along with Lara's dual pistols."
Kilian wraps up our interview with a tease of what's to come. "For the future I'm starting to write part two of the Widescreen Adventures of Lara Croft which will be about the production of Lara Croft and the Cradle of Life and the third (but scrapped) TR movie and the cultural impact the two movies have had on the franchise, but it's not going to be as long as the first part."