It’s a standalone movie with powerful humanity at its heart, says director Roar Uthaug
Angelina Jolie first portrayed Lara Croft in 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. It was directed by Simon West. Now, 15 years later, the concept was picked up again by a Norwegian director, Roar Uthaug, best known for Fritt Vilt (2006), Flukt (2012), and The Wave (2015). He hopes Alicia Vikander will be a much different Lara Croft.
What was your overall vision for the film and the character of Lara Croft?
We’re doing a gritty and authentic take on Tomb Raider and creating a Lara who is a badass but is also vulnerable and imperfect. That makes her very relatable to the audience.
As a gamer and fan of the Tomb Raider game, I really enjoyed directing the film, and it was a real pleasure working with Alicia Vikander. At the same time, I’m also very humbled by the responsibility of creating a new version of such an iconic character.
What qualities does Alicia bring to the reinvention of the character that the two of you created together?
Alicia Vikander is special and dedicated to her craft. She has worked incredibly hard on all her physical training and preparation with the stunt team. As an actress, Alicia has unique presence and authenticity which give her scenes a grounded feeling and an emotional connection that we’re not used to experiencing in a movie like this. Of course, we have the big scope, scale and action one’d expect, but there’s an engaging character — Alicia’s Lara — at the film’s core.
How do you create the balance between the intimate character work and the vast scale of the production?
The spectacle doesn’t work if you don’t care about the character. So, first you must create a character that the audience will root for. And, when you have that, the audience becomes engaged. They can easily experience everything that’s happening to that character.
Where is Lara Croft when we meet her in the film?
When we meet Lara, she’s a bike courier in East London, trying to make ends meet. Her father, Richard Croft, had disappeared seven years ago which has taken Lara to an emotional troll. She’s been pushing that part of her life away, not wanting to be a part of the Croft legacy because that would mean accepting that he’s gone. To stop a downward spiral, she begins to pull at the threads of what has happened to him. Lara discovers that there was a lot more to Richard than what she knew, which propels her on her journey.
What does Dominic West bring to the character of Lara's father, Richard Croft? Same question for Daniel Wu as Lu Ren, and Walton Goggins as Mathias.
Dominic brings a warmth to the character, who is torn between what he feels he must do and the love for his daughter. Dominic portrays that in a very emotional and charming way.
Daniel created this strong but down-and-out Hong Kong fisherman who captains a rusty boat. When the audience meets Lu Ren, he seems a kind of carefree, but after one get to know him, they will find that there’s a lot more to him than what was initially expected.
Walton is fun, energetic and brings the set alive. He has a great presence in front of the camera which well fits him in the space of dangerous villain.We discussed creating this villain character that is not a traditional bad guy with a scheme to destroy the world. Mathias is a man on a mission and he is the hero of his own story. He has layers which Walton brought to the character. He can be very intimidating on screen but on contrary he’s super fun off-screen.
Did you have a favorite or memorable moment during filming?
There is a sequence where Lara is hurled down the river and lands in a Japanese World War II bomber. We shot the part of that sequence in a whitewater rafting facility outside London. I remember holding my breath as Alicia whose hands were literally tied, was going down those rapids. Her dedication really paid off in that scene, and in so many others too.
What do you hope for audience experience when they see Tomb Raider in the cinema?
This is a standalone movie and an origin story about Lara Croft. We made it for everyone so one doesn’t need to know the game to enjoy it. Audiences will love the large-scale action which unfolds in an authentic way. There’s a powerful humanity at the heart of the film. Having said that, fans of the game will enjoy seeing some special ‘Easter eggs’ that we have placed throughout the film.
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