We scramble up a sheer rock face to speak to the new Lara Croft, Alicia Vikander, about the challenges in taking over from Angelina Jolie.
script or even the director that drew Alicia Vikander to her latest film — it was a video game. “I was intrigued,” she remembers of the moment she first saw 2013’s retooled Tomb Raider. “It looked very different from the [Tomb Raider] games I played growing up. I wanted to find out what it was.”
For the first time on screen, we’ll meet Lara Croft before she gets into the whole crypt exploration business. The new film is based on that 2013 game, but when we meet Lara she’s a cycle courier in London. And it’s not some priceless lost artefact that sets her off on her journey, but a quest to find her missing father. Then she’s marooned on a mystical, largely hostile island, where she must learn to defend herself — or end up in a tomb of her own.
“I knew it would be tough,” admits Vikander of the role. However, it wasn’t the gruelling physical requirements that spooked her, but her on-screen predecessor. “Angelina [Jolie] made Lara Croft into such an icon, and everyone thinks of her. Even I saw her face when I thought about the character.”
But memories of previous Laras — from Jolie to the game’s Rhona Mitra — should be banished. More character-led, this Tomb Raider promises to be a very different beast. “We asked, ‘What are the famous traits of this person?’” recalls Vikander. “‘How can we demonstrate them in the story, but make her feel like a young woman in 2018?’” Albeit a modern young woman who plunders magical artefacts for a living.