In 2001, Angelina Jolie starred in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, which was based on the popular videogame at that time.
On March 16th 2018, an updated version of Tomb Raider, based on the 2013 game, opens in cinemas starring Academy Award winning actress Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) as Lara Croft
An origin story, it follows Lara, an East London bike courier, who has refused to take over her father, Richard Croft’s (Dominic West, Money Monster) global empire. It has been seven years since he mysteriously disappeared during an archaeological trip. When Lara uncovers his secret life, she goes in search of her dad’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island near Japan.
Against all odds, Lara grows from a strong-willed young lady into the iconic ‘Tomb Raider.’  The movie co-stars Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Justified) who portrays Mathias Vogel, the ruthless leader of a group of mercenaries she crosses paths with in searching for her father. The Tomb Raider movie is directed by Roar Uthaug (The Wave).
Alicia Vikander spoke with journalists at the press conference for the new Tomb Raider movie at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.
Tomb Raider - Alicia Vikander
Tomb Raider – Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) ©2017 Warner Bros and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Did the filmmakers come after you for the role?

I had a call through my agents saying they had reached out (to) set up a meeting for me and Roar. I was like, ‘It’s been done.’

They told me that it referred to the 2013 rebooted game. I haven’t played that many videogames for the last 15 years, but I read about it on line, and (realized) this was actually a very different take on this character and the story. My imagination started spinning, and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure, I would love to meet Roar.’ We met and had the same idea of what he could possibly do with this film.

The character has a certain swagger. In your film she is finding her way and you see that swagger by the end of the Tomb Raider movie. How did you work towards getting that swagger?

This is a coming of age story, and that was our inspiration, because this film is based a lot more on the 2013 game. There she is a normal girl in the beginning. I think we’ve seen it a lot in these superhero action stories, the origin story. That’s the way for us to get to know our character, to feel for them, to relate to them on a more human level.

I thought it was wonderful that I could play a young woman who’s still trying to find her footing in the world. And (it) also has a story with her dad (who) has been lost for seven years. She hasn’t really been able to mourn him, because she never knew what happened.

She goes out into the world, and all the traits and skills that she has within her is forced to be pulled out due to the adventure that she goes on and the challenges that she’s put through. I’m happy that you saw that in the end. I wanted to have every single step, hopefully, being portrayed for her to become, in the end, the action hero that we so well know her to be.

Tomb Raider - Daniel Wu and Alicia Vikander
Tomb Raider – Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) and Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) ©2017 Warner Bros and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

I thought it was very admirable that, although there’s a lot of gunplay in the film, your character relies on her own skills as an archer, a runner and using her brain to get out of bad situations. Did that appeal to you doing the movie?

I loved that she doesn’t use a gun in this film. I loved that she needs to be innovative and use what’s around her. And if she doesn’t have the size or the strength she needs to use her wit and intelligence instead. That definitely attracted me to the role from the beginning.

At the beginning, was there something that was particularly daunting that you thought, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be able to get there or pull this off?

There are so many different answers to that, because physically it was something completely different.

I’ve never taken on a character in a film like this. For me to try and pretend that I can do a fight or go up in a rig was really daunting to do, (especially) in front of people. I was almost like, ‘Don’t look. Everyone just turn away and I’m going to try it.’

Tomb Raider - Behind the scenes: Alicia Vikander
Tomb Raider – Behind the scenes: Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) fighting the cameraman! ©2017 Warner Bros and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

It’s such an incredibly physical role, and you don’t look like you’re being doubled by a stunt person. Can you talk about the challenges getting in shape to do this?

Yeah, I started about four months before we started to shoot. What I loved was the fact that (myself), Roar and the producers wanted the action sequences, which were going to be such a big part of this film, to be set in reality.

Would you buy that this young girl can beat this bigger, stronger man? And we integrated that she’s a physical being and she trains in a (gym) and she’s a bicycle courier. I wanted her to be a strong girl and for it to be plausible that she could do what she does later on in the film.

Tomb Raider - Director Roar Uthaug, Daniel Wu and Alicia Vikander
Tomb Raider – Director Roar Uthaug, Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) and Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) ©2017 Warner Bros and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

Were there any injuries?

I’m actually covering up one (shows her leg). I still have little wounds on my legs, but no real injuries. We had an incredible stunt team that makes sure everything is safe. It was just tough.

In the Tomb Raider movie there’s a scratch on your face that is in the videogame. When you saw those little nods were you happy it was in there for the gamers?

Yeah, we had a lot of fun making sure that we had little Easter eggs that pertained to the (game).

I’ve played quite a few both fictional and real people on screen. It’s that perfect thing of really gathering as much information and to make sure for me to have all the traditional traits of Lara, and feel like it has all of the elements that made her become such an iconic character.

(Lara’s) been with us for 22 years. (But) then it’s the transition of making sure that she becomes your own. She’s such a bold, curious badass being. I had a lot of fun trying to find the core of her and her personality.

Tomb Raider Soundbytes

I asked Alicia Vikander if she had seen the Angelina Jolie’s version, click here for her reply.

Walton Goggins was asked how he approached playing the bad guy in the movie?


Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.