Copyright 2001 Entertainment Weekly

[ October 24th 2001 ]

Even before Lara Croft: Tomb Raider raked in $131 million at the box office, buzz had begun about a sequel to the girl power action movie. But resurrecting the live action version of the globe-trotting video game siren has not been easy.

First, producer Larry Gordon needed to find a script strong enough to entice Oscar winner Angelina Jolie, who demanded that any follow-up be 100 times better than the critically-panned original. Though Gordon claims to have met his first challenge, his problems getting Tomb Raider 2 onto the production fast track have just begun. "We have a script, and Paramount wants to make it," says Gordon. "But people not wanting to shoot overseas is now more of a concern."

Tomb Raider, filmed on location in England, Iceland, and Cambodia's Angkor Wat temples, was reportedly budgeted at $100 million. But since Sept. 11, the kind of exotic locations that made the movie such impressive eye candy have lost some of their appeal in Hollywood. "Though now is probably the ideal time to travel with security at the airports being beefed up, some actors are going to be reluctant to hop on a plane," notes media analyst Robert Bucksbaum of ReelSource.

Gordon, too, admits to feeling a little skittish. "I'm very concerned about the safety of the crew, of me and Lloyd [Levin, his producing partner], and Angelina, and everyone else," he says. "If something happens in the world and things get worse and you can't fly, well, you can't fly." (Paramount declined to comment on the status of the project, but prior to Sept. 11 Jolie had said that shooting might be rushed ahead to ensure a 2002 opening.)

Though the intrepid Jolie isn't likely to make a fuss over being airborne, Gordon concedes that her recent high profile appointment as a goodwill ambassador to the United Nations makes her security an even higher priority. The actress has been outspoken in her support of Afghan refugees, visiting camps in Pakistan in August and donating $1 million to a U.N.-sponsored humanitarian aid fund devoted to their care.

What's more, a spokesman for the actress says she will likely be making more goodwill visits on behalf of the U.N. in the near future, though nothing is definite at the moment. Lara Croft would be proud.

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