It was only two years ago that Alicia Vikander was a relatively unknown actress trying to make a splash in the States. Then came her leading role in Ex Machina, followed closely by another in the critically-acclaimed The Danish Girl, her performance in which nabbed her an Oscar. With Vikander’s feet now firmly planted in Hollywood soil, she’s taking on her what could become her biggest role yet: Lara Croft in the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise.
Considering Hollywood juggernaut Angelina Jolie played the iconic role back in 2001 and again in 2003, the girl’s got some boots to fill. Though both of Jolie’s film’s tracked poorly, most agreed that Jolie was the perfect woman to play the part.
In early images of latest reboot, we see Vikander looking reminiscent of the character’s revamped image, donning cargo pants and a visibly tarnished tank top—traits that first came to life when developer Crystal Dynamics decided to reboot the video game series with a new origin title, Tomb Raider, in 2013.
The film seems to be taking a similar approach, opting for their own origin story with similar themes. According to Vanity Fair, the reboot will take place nearly a decade after Croft’s father’s mysterious disappearance. As the plot progresses, Croft’s fascination with her father’s disappearance leads her to his last-known location: a tomb shrouded in mystery on an island near Japan, where Croft’s initial search becomes a struggle for survival.
When asked about Jolie’s take on the character, the new film’s director, Roar Uthaug, told GQ, “This movie will introduce Lara as a young woman who hasn’t yet found her way and her place in the world. We follow her struggles and her journey toward becoming the person she was meant to be and earning the role of Tomb Raider.”
When confronted by the eminent fact that films based on video games are unanimously terrible (take Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed), Uthaug seems unphased, remarking that “This is not the kind of video game adaptation you often see, with a lot of CGI and effects.” He continues, “Our movie takes a more realistic, grounded approach. Lara Croft is a hero and a champion but she is not a superhero. She is very much human, and we see her deal with that humanity in many ways.”
Online reaction has been mostly positive, with many commenting on Vikander’s conservative dress, drawing an unavoidable comparison to Karen Gillian’s role in the upcoming reboot of Jumanji. In that film’s promotional images, Gillian was dressed skimpily compared to her modestly dressed male co-stars, which drew criticism.
While Lara Croft often tops sexiest video game character lists, it appears that the reality of Croft’s circumstances in the film outweigh the allure of featuring her in next to nothing. If that’s not enough to inspire a ticket purchase, The Hateful Eight’s Walton Goggins has been cast as the film’s villain, confirming there will be no shortage of acting chops on set. “I think people can identify with [Lara] for lots of different reasons, but for me I very much see her as a model for many young women,” Vikander told Vanity Fair of her role. “Plus, she’s kickass!”
Tomb Raider will be in theatres March 16, 2018.