In rebooting the popular video game Tomb Raider for the big screen, we get a new and improved Lara Croft.
Based on the 2013 version of the game, this Lara, played wonderfully by Alicia Vikander, is still fiercely competitive, intelligent and athletic, with a knack for solving intricate puzzles, but she is also more conflicted and emotional than in previous iterations. In the film, she’s haunted by her father’s disappearance four years prior, but when she stumbles upon his secret mission, she ends up embarking on a treacherous journey to find out exactly what happened to him.
At the press conference, Vikander talked with us about making the iconic Lara Croft her own, what she loved about playing her and what scene really resonated with her throughout the whole process.
On keeping the little nods to the game’s Lara Croft:
Alicia Vikander: We have a lot of fun making sure that we had little Easter eggs to the film. It’s daunting. I’ve played quite a few of both fictional and real people on screen and it’s that type of thing of really gathering as much information and making sure to kind of have all of the traditional traits of Lara and feel like you have all of the elements that made her become such an iconic character for 22 years. She’s such a bold, kind of curious, badass being, so I had a lot of fun trying to find the core of her and her personality.
It’s interesting. I was at Crystal Dynamics, the game’s company, yesterday. It was so cool. I got to see all these different versions of Lara that has kind of been throughout history now. She has inspired a lot of young girls and boys around the world for so many years, but she’s also morphed into a personality or a different version of her persona of herself due to what time she’s in. It’s interesting in terms of what times we are now. This is the kind of girl you could relate to in 2018. If you were to go out on the street and talk to young guys and girls and ask them what they would find cool and attractive, it’s a very different answer that you would get now than in the mid-‘90s.
On when she first played Tomb Raider the game:
Vikander: I was probably around nine and 10 years old when I walked into a room at a friend’s house; I sadly didn’t have a PlayStation at my house. I hadn’t seen a girl, a female protagonist computer game, and I was so curious. I stood behind and asked those older boys if I was allowed to play and they didn’t let me so I had to wait until it was just me in that room sneaking down and I did play it then. Back then I was more into computer games, so I played actually the anniversary version of the first game around my mid-teens.
On making Lara Croft more human:
Vikander: Yeah, it is a coming of age story. That was our inspiration because this film is based a lot more on the 2013 rebooted game. She is a normal girl in the beginning. I found it really interesting. We’ve seen it a lot in these kinds of big both superhero and action movies. If you have the origin story, then that’s a 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 also has a story with her dad who has been lost for seven years, but she hasn’t really been able to mourn him either because she never knew what happened to him.
It’s a story where she goes out in the world with all the kinds of traits and skills that she has within her and is forced to be pulled out due to the adventure that she goes on and the challenges that she’s put through… I wanted to have every single step of the way being portrayed from the beginning until the end for her to become, in the end, the action hero that we so well know her to be. It’s also very empowering when you get to be there in the end, because if you have all the struggles and you feel for her being this real girl, that makes you be with her emotionally, then you root for her even more.
On the training skills:
Vikander: I started training about four months before we started to shoot. What I loved was when I met with both Roar and [producer] Graham [King], we wanted the action sequences to be such a big part of this film to set in the reality. Would you buy that this girl can beat this bigger, stronger man? We then, story-wise, integrated that she’s a physical being, and she trains in MMA and she’s a bicycle courier. I wanted her to be a strong girl for it to be plausible that she could do what she does later on in the film.
I loved the fact that everything that she uses, even if it’s down to an ice pick, she needs to be innovative. She needs to use what she has around her and if she doesn’t have the size or the same strength, she needs to use her wit and intelligence, instead.
On her favorite scene:
Vikander: It was a six-month shoot, over a 100 days of filming, but I would say that when we [she and co-star Walton Goggins, as the film’s villain] were in that tent, that was actually the first day of shooting. It was tricky one, but I also knew that the villain… I mean you could have these loud spectacles, but instead, I sat there and Walton’s performance was creeping up under my skin. I thought, “This really feels like there’s drama going on here.” I knew I was going to out there and throw myself in the river and other things, but if we can find this and hold onto this kind of chemistry between our characters, then we have something to work. Something really exciting.
Tomb Raider opens this Friday.