'These are the remains of Luke Skywalker's childhood home, as seen at the start of Star Wars'
This is part of a project that began when I was using Google Maps to look at Chott el Djerid, the great salt desert in Tunisia. Intriguingly, someone had attached a photograph of some crumbling plaster to the online map with the strange caption: "There is no more English Patient." I discovered that The English Patient had been shot there – and Star Wars.
As I researched further, I found out that it wasn't uncommon for Hollywood and European productions to abandon sets in deserts. In Morocco, there are huge re-creations of ancient Rome and Greece, plus a fake Mecca. There's also a replica of an American gas station, which a homeless guy has moved into. Over time, they become almost like archaeological sites.
So in September 2010, I spent a month travelling around Chott el Djerid. »
- Sarah Phillips
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