Scenes from the Hollywood movie sequel “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” will be shot in and around Siem Reap’s Angkor Archaeological Park and Kampot Province’s Bokor Hill Station, according to government media.
Hundreds of millions of people saw the first two “Transformers” films, which told the story of a US boy who finds himself at the epicenter of civil strife between massive robotic aliens capable of assuming the form of machines. The two previous “Transformers” movies featured a number of notable monuments around the world and, almost invariably, their destruction.
Information Minister Khieu Kanharith, who could not be reached yesterday for comment, announced on his Facebook Web page late last week that he had given the project the green light and hoped that “Cambodia gets lots of publicity and young Cambodians get good experience from the shooting.”
According to government-owned newswire AKP, Los Angeles-based Indochina Production wished to shoot in Cambodia in order to give “the impression that the story is traveling all around the planet earth.”
Nick Ray, a location scout unaffiliated with “Transformers” who helped manage the production of “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” which prominently featured Angkor’s Ta Prohm temple, said yesterday that filming in Cambodia would likely not include actors.
“I understand that they are filming aerial and other shots that they can use with computer-generated imagery,” said Mr Ray. Reports from the US media indicate that the film’s stars, Shia Labeouf and lingerie model Rosie Huntington-Whitely, have already finished filming their parts in the film.
Mr Ray said that the makers of “Tomb Raider” were careful to pay respect to Angkor Wat and questioned whether Cambodian audiences would enjoy watching alien robots damage or destroy the landmark.
“I think there could be issues because the authorities are quite sensitive about Angkor Wat, especially given the Thai hostilities…and though audiences tend to see destruction as fine if its in the service of a crazy movie, that could be different here,” said Mr Ray, adding that the filmmakers would need to seek approval from the Apsara Authority, the government agency which oversees the temples in Siem Reap province.
Contacted yesterday, Apsara Authority Director General Bun Narith said he had not heard about any planned filming.