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.

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