Tomb Raider: Lara Croft Reboot: Interview with Director and Star Alicia Vikander

Lara Croft is the fiercely independent daughter of an eccentric adventurer who vanished when she was scarcely a teen.  Now a young woman of 21 without any real focus or purpose, Lara navigates the chaotic streets of trendy East London as a bike courier, barely making the rent.  Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father’s global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he’s truly gone.  Advised to face the facts and move forward after seven years without him, even Lara can’t understand what drives her to finally solve the puzzle of his mysterious death.

Leaving everything she knows behind, Lara goes in search of her dad’s last-known destination: a fabled tomb on a mythical island that might be somewhere off the coast of Japan.  But her mission will not be an easy one; just reaching the island will be extremely treacherous.  Suddenly, the stakes couldn’t be higher for Lara, who—against the odds and armed with only her sharp mind, blind faith and inherently stubborn spirit—must learn to push herself beyond her limits as she journeys into the unknown.  If she survives this perilous adventure, it could be the making of her…earning her the name tomb raider.

From Warner and MGM, “Tomb Raider” is the story that will set a young and resolute Lara Croft on a path toward becoming a global hero.

The film stars Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (“Ex Machina,” “The Danish Girl”) in the lead role, under the direction of Roar Uthaug (“The Wave”).

Starring Alicia Vikander in the title role, the epic feature “Tomb Raider” reveals an all-new origin story that not only takes audiences inside Lara Croft’s very first adventure, but also completely into the heart and mind of a character who, in order to find her place in the world, must connect her future with her past.  The film explores not only the choices she makes but why she makes them, as we discover how she came to be one of the greatest and most popular action heroes of all time.

The film is peppered with numerous touchstones from the hugely successful, critically acclaimed 2013 “Tomb Raider” videogame—the biggest seller in the entire franchise’s history—which served as a key source of inspiration for the filmmakers, as did the updated take on the character herself.

Director Roar Uthaug, who grew up playing all of the games, states, “I was blown away by the game play, and of course by the character of Lara Croft, a kickass girl who solves all the puzzles, avoids all the traps and raids the tombs.  But when I saw what they had done with the game in 2013, I was really excited with the authentic, gritty take on the character, and thought it was definitely something that would transfer to the big screen.”

Prolific producer Graham King, who obtained the film rights to the property several years back, says he, too, was eager to bring this expanded conception of the character’s history to cinemas.  “Lara Croft is one of the rare strong and successful female leads in the genre world, especially in movies.  It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen her and I think the timing couldn’t be better to revisit her character and introduce her origins, in a way that speaks to today’s world.  The tone has changed, the story has a lot of drama and emotion to it, along with practically nonstop, incredible action sequences, and I think a modern audience will enjoy going through this journey with her as much as the gamers do.”

Growing up, Vikander was also a player, and an even bigger fan.  “As a young girl, I didn’t have any videogames, so I was always very excited to go to our friends’ houses who did,” she recalls.  “I remember when they played “Lara Croft,” what struck me was that I hadn’t seen a girl being the lead character in a game before.  She was not only a woman, but she was extremely fierce, determined and capable, and that really drew me to her.  Of course, I was only about ten, so I mostly spent my time in the game doing the training in the big Croft manor!”

Vikander, who naturally advanced her level of play as she became a teen and beyond, says, “When I heard about this film, I went and bought the newer games as well.  It really felt like it was the essence of Lara from the earlier versions, but now we got to follow her from the beginning.  For me, she’s like the superheroes and action heroes we love; by seeing their journey to become the ‘super’ versions of themselves, we get to feel close to them and get to understand them, emotionally.”

As in the games, the filmmakers aimed for the action in the film to feel real and the audience to feel as if they’re in the midst of it all, experiencing the events through Lara’s eyes: running at full speed, fighting at full force, shooting a bow and arrow while dodging bullets—along with all manner of deadly obstacles—and solving impossibly intricate puzzles with mere seconds to spare.  It takes every ounce of strength, skill, smarts and stamina Lara can muster to get through any one of her amped-up exploits, which is precisely why enthusiasts the world over love her videogames: they drop the player in the middle of the action and take them on the virtual ride of a lifetime, every time.

The screenplay was crafted by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, from a story by Robertson-Dworet and Evan Daugherty.  “I’ve been playing ‘Tomb Raider’ games for most of my life, watching all the while as Lara Croft, the fascinating character at the heart of the expansive mythology, has grown into a true pop culture icon,” Daugherty says.  “It was an honor to help shape this dramatic new reinvention of the character and the franchise.”

In the film, Lara’s journey really begins when she’s asked to acknowledge an “official” end to her father’s life.  Feeling cornered, what the rebellious young woman accepts instead is one last puzzle box containing a clue to her dad’s fate, which leads her to believe things might not be so final, after all.  What she finds will ultimately take her far from home, even to the farthest corners of the Earth.

“The father-daughter relationship is at the core of our story,” Uthaug notes.  “He abandoned her, yet she clearly cannot let go of him.  It’s created a void in Lara that she’s been trying to fill, and this final puzzle box quite literally provides the key that starts her investigating what happened to him, and leads her to embark on this great quest.”


Oscar winner Graham King (“The Departed”) produced under his GK Films banner.

“Tomb Raider” also stars Dominic West (“Money Monster,” “300”), Walton Goggins (“The Hateful Eight,” “Django Unchained”), Daniel Wu (AMC’s “Into the Badlands”) and Oscar nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (“The English Patient”).

Roar Uthaug directed from a script by Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons, story by Evan Daugherty and Robertson-Dworet.  The executive producers are Patrick McCormick, Denis O’Sullivan and Noah Hughes.

The director’s behind-the-scenes creative team included director of photography George Richmond (“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”); production designer Gary Freeman (“Maleficent”); Oscar-nominated editor Stuart Baird (“Skyfall,” “Gorillas in the Mist”) and editor Michael Tronick (“Suicide Squad”); Oscar-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood (“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”) and costume designer Timothy A. Wonsik (assistant costume designer “Free State of Jones,” “Iron Man 3”).  The music is by Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL (“Mad Max: Fury Road”).