Alicia Vikander is the new "Tomb Raider".
Ok, let's get this out of the way. Angelina Jolie's double d's Lara Croft screen siren and its video game pointy boobs avatar equivalent is dead.
Meet the new and improved Lara Croft 2.0.
This year's rebooted "Tomb Raider" is meant to adapt the also rebooted "Tomb Raider" (2013) game that is more realistic in its portrayal of a woman's physicality and with added layers of depth to her origin story.
Just don't poke our eyes out with those things!
Meaning Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander's version of Croft is definitely way less hyper-sexualised, and we can confirm this first-hand having gotten the exclusive privilege of visiting the "Tomb Raider" set in London last year.
First introduced in 1996 as the sexist idealised female version of Indiana Jones, the world saw Lara Croft as one of the first few video game heroines out there, and then in 2001 and 2003 came the Angelina Jolie "Tomb Raider" movies which catapulted the actress' status as a sex icon.
All that was great, if you are an English archaeologist millionaire with self-esteemed pumped up to 200 per cent and a ridiculous thirst for danger, but thanks to the industry (both gaming and film) finally getting 'woke', now we are getting a version that is more worth her salt in body image sensitivity, and without a doubt more relatable in logic at least. Huzzah for us normies!
Angie's Lara Croft is a fan of two guns.
Alicia is a fan too.
Going back to before Lara Croft discovers her abilities, Warner Bros' new "Tomb Raider" directed by Roar Uthaug ("The Wave") follows Lara Croft as 21-year-old bike courier in East London. When her past brings her back to her childhood home, she finds clues that leads her to a mythical island where her father disappeared.
While touring the London set where we observed scenes shot in the exterior and interior of Croft Manor (look out for our set visit article next week!), we managed to grab the petite Alicia Vikander for a quick chat, and to make her pinky promise that this Tomb Raider is more than just eye candy!
Alicia Vikander with director Roar Uthaug at Croft Manor in London.
Cinema Online. Hi Alicia, what was it like landing the role of Lara Croft?
Alicia Vikander: I was extremely thrilled to know that I got it! I've never really got to play an action role, what more in an action adventure movie like this. Angelina Jolie has made her into an icon and those are big shoes to fill.
How familiar are you with the character?
I was so excited to be able to play her on the Playstation. Even my mom knew who it was when I told her I got the part and was like "Ah, it's that one in the hot pants!". It's a role that everyone knows. I think I was 12 when the game came out and my brothers didn't let me play at first. I remember just watching them and the TV screen. Eventually I got to play the game, but I did mostly the training at the manor. I was scared playing it at other times when the wolves came out. There was a time when Lara Croft was just a character with a hot body but now with the reboot she has become more human with a relatable story. She represents female capability.
Can you say that you and this new Lara are somewhat alike?
There are some similarities to myself, but I wish I had more of her fierceness. It's like the first game, she keeps tripping and falling over, and dying. [Laughs]
What was the hardest part of playing Lara Croft?
The fist fights have been the biggest challenge for me. I have an amazing stunt team. There was a lot of fighting, climbing and more, especially at the South Africa set. It's all been new things that I've never done before. I got to run and jump on these big mattresses and get into a harness and fly in the air. It's like an adult version of jumping on your parents' bed.
Alicia loves getting into the stunt work.
Do you think your version of Lara Croft will give her a unique trait we have never seen before?
I think this movie and the character will be more emotional in finding herself, discovering her capabilities and also finding out what really happened to her dad. It's all things that are very new for Lara to explore and to become who she is meant to be. All the expertise is not just handed to her from the very start. She has to earn them.
It's great to see what has happened in the action world the past couple of years. This time we get to see a Lara who has some of the old characteristics but she is also smart, witty and she's very curious. Since it is an origin story, she doesn't know how to use what she has yet and has to find it.
What did your four months of training involve? How do we get a body like Lara Croft?
You know, I actually talked to Alexander Skarsgard, a fellow Swede, and he told me that I needed his "Tarzan" trainer Magnus [Lygdback]. In the four months it took a lot of exercise and eating to gain the 12 pounds of muscle. I had three eggs in the morning, two fillets of fish and a bowl of rice, every day, every three hours!
My workout consisted of weight training, HIIT, MMA fighting, climbing, archery, and swimming. Everything basically!
This is how Alicia got her abs. Training with Magnus Lygdback.
How many of your own stunts did you do?
I would say almost all of them because I'm in every scene. There was one going into the rapids and the water was cold. I did that like 25 times with my hands tied. But I also had around six incredible stunt girls who did three or four of the dangerous ones that they [producers] wouldn't let me do. I just stood back to watch and was like "wow".
Catch Alicia Vikander as the new Lara Croft in "Tomb Raider", now in cinemas!
Cinema Online, 08 March 2018