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Tomb Raider’s New Lara: Alicia Vikander

Mar 12, 2018

By: Lynn Barker

In the new movie version of Tomb Raider, pretty Swedish actress Alicia Vikander plays heroine Lara Croft. You might have seen her as a sexy automaton in the Sci-Fi movie Ex Machina or as a spy in The Man from U.N.C.L.E or opposite Matt Damon in Jason Bourne. The actress is also married to Magneto, actor Michael Fassbender and the couple moved to Portugal.

Lara is the worse for wear after a harrowing escapeLara is the worse for wear after a harrowing escapeCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Alicia played the “Tomb Raider” game as a kid and was dedicated to giving the Lara Croft character some depth in a coming of age story that is different from the Angelina Jolie movies starting in 2001. Alicia still carries a few scars from the intense physical action in the movie which was new to her but is proud of her training and the fact that Lara doesn’t use guns in the film. Check it out!

Q: How did this film initially come to you?  Did the filmmakers come after you for the part or did you go after them?

  • Alicia: I had a call through my agents saying that they had reached out and we set up a meeting with me and (the filmmakers). (At first), I was like, ‘What? Well it's been done’. It was not until they told me that it was in regard to the 2013 rebooted game and I had read about it online and I went in and did my research and realized, "Ah, this is actually a very, very different take on this character and the story. Then my imagination starts spinning and I was like, ‘Yeah, sure’.

Swinging into actionSwinging into actionCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: What do you think of Lara Croft in terms of where she starts from internally? Is it the absence of her father that affects her entire life?

  • Alicia: I mean that's her life. One of the stories is the relationship with her father. She has the love for history and mythology and artifacts and all of that, but I thought it was an interesting thing that, like a lot of young people do, you have your dad telling you stories when you were a kid, but because of the pain that he just took off, she never really knew what happened. Maybe he just abandoned her. She has to accept who she is, and that is something that I think any young person can relate to, and also the fact that she has a lot of people who ask her, ‘What are you going to do with your life?’ I think that's a pressure that I never had when I was 20.

Lara investigates her dad's disappearanceLara investigates her dad's disappearanceCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: This is such an incredibly physical role and you don't look like you're being doubled or anything; that it's really you. Can you talk about the challenges just getting in shape to do this?

  • Alicia: I started about four months before we started to shoot. What I loved was when I met with the producers, we wanted the action sequences to be such a big part of this film to set the reality. Would you buy that this young girl can beat this bigger, stronger man? We then story-wise integrated that she's a physical being, and she trains MMA and she's a bicycle courier, so 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.

Doing another tough stuntDoing another tough stuntCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: Were there any injuries?

  • Alicia: I'm actually covering up. You can see. I still have little wounds on my legs, but no real injuries. You have an incredible stunt team that makes sure everything is safe. It’s just hard.

Q: I would imagine that dealing with the fight choreography in rehearsal is slightly different than dealing with it in on set, where you have some elements like dirt and brick to get in the way of maybe hitting your marks. Was that hard?

  • Alicia: It's kind of a natural progress. You start normally in a room and you just have mats, and that's very much choreography, even when it looks as gritty and dirty hopefully by the end, it is choreography. Then you take the next step and you come to a set which might not be completely done yet, and then you start to actually practice in there. 'Cause normally like you said, it feels different to be on a set. But then you do have rehearsal time there, so you feel comfortable by the time you start shooting. We worked hard.

Alicia in Ex MachinaAlicia in Ex Machina

Q: Lara has a few scratches on her face that she has in the game. Was that intentional?

  • Alicia: That's great that you noticed that. I think we have about 42 lacerations. Yeah, we have a lot of fun making sure that we had little Easter eggs to the film, as well. I've played quite a few of both fictional and real people on screen and you want to gather as much information to 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. Then make sure that she becomes real. She's such a bold, kind of curious, bad-ass being, so I had a lot of fun trying to find the core of her and her personality.

Searching for cluesSearching for cluesCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: This film seems more like a coming of age or origin story than the Angelina Jolie Tomb Raider films. Do you agree?

  • Alicia: Yeah, it is a coming of age story. That was our inspiration, because this film is now based a lot more on the 2013 rebooted game, and there she is, a normal girl in the beginning. I found it really interesting. I think we've seen it a lot in these kind of big 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. I wanted to have every single step of the way being portrayed from the beginning 'till the end, for her to become the action hero that we so well know her to be.

Q: What was the biggest challenge for you taking on this character ?

  • Alicia: There's so many different answers to that, because physically it was something completely different. I had never taken on a character and a role in a film like this. I was a dancer before and to try and pretend that I can do an MMA fight, that was really daunting to do that in front of people. I was almost like, ‘Just don’t look’. That was scary. Then it is a daunting thing to make these big studio films, these big adventures which I loved since I was a kid. You have to be able to mix these big spectacles with heart and find something that is grounded. I realized very early on that it was also something about giving it a lot of energy and force throughout the shoot.

Early on young Lara is a bike messengerEarly on young Lara is a bike messengerCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: What is your history with gaming ? Did you play Tomb Raider as a kid ?

  • Alicia: I was probably around nine or ten years old and I sadly didn't have a PlayStation at my house. I hadn't seen a girl, a female antagonist computer game and I was so curious. I actually remember, I was at a friend’s house and I stood behind and I 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, but then I was more into computer games, so I played actually the anniversary version of the first game around my mid-teens.

Q: Had you seen the Angelina Jolie version of the character?

  • Alicia: I've seen the film. Angelina Jolie made her into an icon and still, that is one of the first times we got to see a female action hero on screen too. Then, this character has been away for about 22 years. It's interesting. I was at Crystal Dynamics, the games company yesterday. It was so cool. I got to see all these different versions of Lara that have been throughout history now. What I realized is that it's truly the essence of her, the kind of girl, woman that has inspired a lot of young girls and boys around the world for so many years. She's morphed into a different version of her persona due to what time she's in. This is the kind of girl that you would relate to in 2018. I think if you would go out on the street and meet guys and girls, young ages 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.

Alicia in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.Alicia in The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Q: True. Lara doesn’t use guns in the film. She uses archery, running and is smart enough to get out of bad situations. Did that appeal to you?

  • Alicia: I love that and that was something we discussed for one of the first meetings I think we had, the fact she doesn't use a gun in this 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. So definitely that was something that attracted me to the role in the beginning.

Lara uses archery instead of gunsLara uses archery instead of gunsCourtesy of Warner Bros.

Q: What was your most difficult scene to film ?

  • Alicia: The bicycle scene was tough, but I loved that. I thought that was also a wonderful opening with the kind of non-scene action scene. I lived in East London when I was 20 with my girlfriends, and I used to have a bike because it's so crazy and intense to get on the Tube, and I almost got killed. So I know that it's life-threatening in London, so that makes for a really good action scene.

Tomb Raider Movie PosterTomb Raider PosterCourtesy of Warner Bros.

See Tomb Raider in theaters this Friday, March 16th


Have Your Say

Did you play the Tomb Raider games? Had you seen the Angelina Jolie version of the character? Are you looking forward to this “new” Lara? Comment below!