To those around the world who bought tickets to see Alicia Vikander’s Tomb Raider reboot, fans in America thank you, because it was reported today that a sequel script is finally in the works. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Free Fire screenwriter Amy Jump is at work on a new screenplay that should by law require Vikander to do at least twice as many pull-ups as she did in the first movie. (That’s a lot of pull-ups, but we believe in the lithe adventurer’s mighty muscles to handle the work.) The first movie cost around $100 million to make, and only brought in $58 million at the domestic box office, which is why there are a lot of thank-you notes that need to go out to international Raider fans — especially those in China, France, and the U.K., who really showed out for Vikander and her climbing ax.
John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Boyd Holbrook (Logan) and Vicky Krieps (The Phantom Thread) have been set to lead cast on hot project du jour Born To Be Murdered, which will be produced by Luca Guadagnino and much of the team behind his Oscar-winner Call Me By Your Name.
Born To Be Murdered is set in Athens and the Epirus region of Greece, where a vacationing couple, played by Washington and Vikander, fall trap to a violent conspiracy with tragic consequences. Ferdinando Cito Filomarino (Antonia) will direct from a screenplay by Kevin Rice. Production is currently underway in Greece.
Producers are Luca Guadagnino and longtime collaborator Marco Morabito for their Frenesy Films, along with longtime co-producer Francesco Melzi and Gabriele Moratti with their MeMo outfit which is also the lead financier. Call Me By Your Name producer Rodrigo Teixera (RT Features) and Rai Cinema also financed.
Endeavor Content reps world sales on the under-the-radar project will be a hot one in the Cannes market next month.
The film’s crew is equally impressive. Cinematographer is Sayombhu Mukdeeprom (Call Me By Your Name), composer is Oscar-winner Ryuichi Sakamoto (The Revenant) and editor is Guadagnino regular Walter Fasano (Call Me By Your Name).
Cito Filomarino was second unit director on Guadagnino-directed trio Suspiria, Call Me My Your Name and A Bigger Splash and made his feature debut on 2015 biopic Antonia, which chronicles the last ten years of the young Italian poet Antonia Pozzi. The film played at festivals including Karlovy Vary, Torino, Seattle and Gothenburg. The director, the great nephew of iconic Italian filmmaker Luchino Visconti, is making his English-language debut on Born To Be Murdered.
Call Me By Your Name outfit Frenesy teamed up with MeMo Films on Guadagnino’s latest feature Suspiria. The latter is currently producing Guadagnino’s upcoming documentary Salvatore, Shoemaker Of Dreams about designer Salvatore Ferragama. Meanwhile, Rodrigo Teixera (Ad Astra) and Guadagnino are currently in pre-production on Blood On The Tracks, the next film to be directed by Guadagnino, who will be in Cannes this year with short film The Staggering Girl.
Cito Filomarino stated, “Born to Be Murdered is my take on the manhunt thriller, as inspired by so many movies and books I always admired. I have worked for years in creating its specific tone and story with the tireless support of my writer Kevin Rice, and I am honored to have the extraordinary John David Washington join me to portray the restless and conflicted journey of such a special character. I am thrilled and to be working with the wonderful Alicia Vikander, the beautifully intense Vicky Krieps, the superb Boyd Holbrook. With this incredible cast and with my unique collaborators, Born to Be Murdered will be a fantastic experience that pushes genre to a new place.”
Guadagnino, Morabito, Melzi and Moratti added in a joint statement, “We have been working with Ferdinando for ten years, following and supporting his career since the beginning. He is an exciting new voice in international cinema, and with Born To Be Murdered, he has the chance to be embraced in a bigger scope and in partnership with such a prestigious cast, composed of some of the best and most interesting performers in the world, especially the wonderful John David Washington whom we believe is one of the most compelling performers around.”
BlacKkKlansman and Ballers star Washington was recently cast in Christopher Nolan’s next film for Warner Bros, slated for a July 2020 release. Oscar-winner Vikander recently starred in the Warner Bros/ MGM remake of Tomb Raider and will soon begin production in Ireland on David Lowery’s The Green Knight.
Predator, Logan and Narcos star Holbrook will next be seen in Tribeca debut Two/One and he will star opposite Michael C. Hall in Netflix thriller In the Shadow of the Moon. Krieps shot to fame thanks to a starring role opposite Daniel Day Lewis in The Phantom Thread. Recent productions include TV mini-series Das Boot, Barry Levinson’s feature Harry Haft and Dan Friedken’s Lyrebird opposite Guy Pierce.
Cito Filomarino is represented by Cinetic Media and WME; Washington is represented by WME and Hansen, Jacobsen, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman, LLP; Vikander is represented by UTA and Tavistock Wood Management; Krieps is represented by Agence Adequat (France), Agentur Homebase (Germany) and Tavistock Wood; and Holbrook is represented by CAA and lawyers Morris Yorn.
Deadline published an article about our girl, to announce that she has been hired as a narrator for the documentary “Anthropocene: The Human Epoch”, which will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. They also revealed that Alicia has completed the filming of her upcoming thriller “The Earthquake Bird”! Read below:
Tomb Raider and The Danish Girl star Alicia Vikander has lent her voice to big-canvas documentary Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, which will get its world premiere this week at the Toronto Film Festival.
The science-themed doc, from filmmakers Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier and photographer Edward Burtynsky, contends that human impact on the planet means we have entered a new geological era.
The Toronto-based trio travelled to six of seven continents and 20 countries (the project was entirely carbon offset), documenting evidence of human domination, from concrete seawalls that cover 60% of China’s mainland coast to potash mines in Russia’s Ural Mountains, and marble quarries in Italy to surreal phosphate tailings ponds in Florida.
The film is in English, Russian, Italian, German, Mandarin and Cantonese with English subtitles. Pic is being released in Canada by Mongrel Media. Seville International is handling international sales.
“Alicia’s exceptional voice, and her considerable talent in knowing how to use it, has elevated our film enormously and brings a beauty and hope to the narration that is crucial. We are deeply honored by her participation,” Baichwal said.
The film is part of The Anthropocene Project, which also includes exhibitions, VR and books. It is the third in a trilogy of films that also include Manufactured Landscapesand Watermark.
Vikander recently wrapped shooting on the Wash Westmoreland thriller Earthquake Bird.
Alicia Vikander attends the Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination Costume Institute Gala at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 7, 2018 in New York City.
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has announced that Tomb Raider, starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, will arrive on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and on DVD on June 12. You can also own the action-adventure early on Digital HD when it releases on May 29, where it will be available in 4K HDR from select digital retailers including iTunes, Google, and Vudu. It will also be available in high definition and standard definition from select digital retailers including Amazon, FandangoNow, iTunes, PlayStation, Vudu, Xbox, and others.
Lara Croft (Vikander) 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, and takes college courses, rarely making it to class. 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.
Tomb Raider will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack for $44.95, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack for $44.95, Blu-ray Combo Pack for $35.99, and DVD for $28.98. The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the theatrical version in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the theatrical version, and a Digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features a Blu-ray disc with the film and special features in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a Digital version of the movie.
The Tomb Raider 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-ray, and Blu-ray Combo Packs contain the following special features:
– Tomb Raider: Uncovered – The cast and crew reveal the challenges — and the fun — of bringing Lara Croft’s thrilling adventures to life for a new generation.
– Croft Training – Enter the gym with Award-winning actress Alicia Vikander as she prepares for the most physically demanding role of her career and transforms into the iconic action hero Lara Croft.
– Breaking Down the Rapids – Join director Roar Uthaug as he and other members of the cast and crew break down the film’s most exciting action set piece.
– Lara Croft: Evolution of an Icon – Explore the revolutionary Tomb Raider saga from video games to movies, and discover how Lara Croft became one of the most popular and successful female characters of all time.
The Tomb Raider standard definition DVD contains the following special features:
– Tomb Raider: Uncovered – The cast and crew reveal the challenges — and the fun — of bringing Lara Croft’s thrilling adventures to life for a new generation.
Tomb Raider opened in theaters on March 16, 2018, and also stars Dominic West (Money Monster, 300), Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight, Django Unchained) and Daniel Wu (AMC’s Into the Badlands). It is directed by Roar Uthaug (The Wave) and produced by Oscar winner Graham King (The Departed) under his GK Films banner.
Netflix has teamed with Scott Free on an adaptation of the Susanna Jones novel The Earthquake Bird. Alicia Vikander and Riley Keough are finishing deals to star for Wash Westmoreland, who wrote the script and will direct. The Earthquake Bird is a Tokyo-set female-driven noir thriller that tells the story of young female expat who is suspected of murder after her friend goes missing in the wake of a tumultuous love triangle with a handsome local photographer. The project originally took root at Amazon Studios, but Netflix will make the picture and has set a May production start in Tokyo and Sado Island.
Scott Free’s Kevin Walsh and Michael Pruss will produce alongside Ann Ruark and Twenty First City’s Georgina Pope. Ridley Scott will be exec producer.
With the late Richard Glatzer, Westmoreland wrote and directed Still Alice, as well as Colette, a film Westmoreland unveiled at Sundance where Bleecker Street and 30WEST made a deal to distribute.UTA, Actors in Scandinavia and Tavistock Wood rep Vikander, who’s currently starring in Tomb Raider and just came attached to a Morten Tyldum-directed adaptation of The Marsh King’s Daughter at Black Bear. Keough, who’s coming off Logan Lucky and is upcoming in Under the Silver Lake, is repped by WME and Thirty Three Management.
The Earthquake Bird won several awards including the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Crime Writers’ Association New Blood Dagger Award for newly published authors. Westmoreland seems a strong match for the material: he spent a year studying in Japan around the time the book is set there. He previously co-wrote and co-directed the Sundance winner Quinceañera.
After a string of period films, heart-tugging dramas, and art house indies, the Oscar-winning actress opens up about her first action-hero role as Lara Croft in this month’s Tomb Raider, and what she hopes for her future in Hollywood.
Alicia Vikander likes making plans. When she was 12 years old, she looked at the year 2018 on a calendar and thought about what her life would be like then. “I realized I’d be 30, and in my head, 30 was the year you became an adult, so I remember thinking, Hopefully I’m going to have something good by then, but I’m also going to be old.”
Vikander laughs—a lovely husky sound that rings out across the garden of L.A.’s Chateau Marmont, where she sits without a bit of makeup on, relaxed and glowing in cropped Paige jeans and a long-sleeve navy t-shirt. She’s just back from skiing in the French Alps over New Year’s (“It was amazing!”). Her dark wavy hair is air-dried, her tobacco-brown eyes warm, a Louis Vuitton Petite Malle bag tossed casually to one side. It’s the day after the Golden Globes, where Vikander presented the award for Best Motion Picture Comedy to Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird, and the hotel is bustling with postmortem cheer. A sleepy-eyed Dakota Johnson comes up, murmurs,“Morning…” and envelops Vikander in a bearhug. Once she’s gone, Vikander smiles wryly and continues, “The nice thing is, life has only gone better than I’d imagined.”
That’s some understatement. At 29 (her birthday is in October), Vikander is in that moment of early Hollywood megastardom when the fates seem to smile on her every move. Since bursting on the scene in 2014 with four show stopping roles in Ex Machina, Testament of Youth, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and The Danish Girl (for which she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress), Vikander has become a face of Louis Vuitton; starred opposite Matt Damon in Jason Bourne (2016) and opposite James McAvoy in Wim Wenders’ Submergence (2017); fell in love with her Irish costar, Michael Fassbender, while making Derek Cianfrance’s romantic drama The Light Between Oceans (2016); and capped the whole thing off by quietly marrying Fassbender in Ibiza last fall.
This month, Vikander stars as Lara Croft in the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise (out today), which, if successful, will officially make her that rarest of Hollywood commodities: a great actress who can also sell gazillions of movie tickets. She is, as one fan likes to put it, “the biggest Swedish export since IKEA.”
“You used to want her to be attractive and sexy, but, nowadays, you want this to be a girl that fights. Someone who’s vulnerable, but funny. Someone who’s OK with people seeing her bad sides.”
Because Vikander is taking on a role that Angelina Jolie made into a worldwide sensation in 2001, it’s tempting to wonder how she feels about stepping into Jolie’s formidable shoes (or boots, as it were), but Vikander sidesteps comparisons. “We’re making a different movie; it’s an origin story,” she says, explaining that Lara Croft 2.0 is grittier and more realistic, based on the Lara Croft of the current video games (themselves rebooted in 2013 to incorporate more hand-to-hand fighting and less running around in short shorts).
“She doesn’t have the big mansion and all the money in the world; she’s not kick-ass yet,” says Vikander. If Jolie’s Croft was all bodacious, unflappable globe-storming heiress, Vikander’s Croft is a scrappy, decidedly more relatable creature. The new Tomb Raider finds her at 21, broke and aimless, working as a bicycle courier in London. She has no interest in taking over the family empire and no idea what she wants to do with her life. Mostly she’s worried about how to pay the rent. Of course, eventually, Croft becomes the force of nature we all know and love, but the fun of the movie is watching her struggle to get there.
Vikander put on 11 pounds of muscle and trained for four months straight to prepare for the role—doing MMA (mixed martial arts), boxing, and heavy lifting until her abs were quilted in brawn and she could choke a man the size of a mountain with her bare hands.
“It’s interesting that a character that has been seen as very sexualized back in the ’90s is very different now,” says Vikander. “If you go out in the street and ask men and women, young and old, what they find attractive, it’s different. You want her to be attractive and sexy, but, nowadays, you want this to be a girl that fights. Someone who’s vulnerable, but funny. Someone who’s OK with people seeing her bad sides.”
In some ways, Vikander’s Lara Croft seems tailor-made for the #MeToo movement. She’s all about strength and grit, taking on challenges. Survival. There is no love story in the film, no steamy shower scenes or sultry pursing of lips before throwing punches. Instead, we see her bruised and bloodied but never down for the count. “She always stands up,” says Vikander. “When things are found to be quite shit, she always sees the bright side. She just keeps on going.”
ON CONVEYING LARA CROFT’S STRENGTH IN TOMB RAIDER:
“We wanted to base most of the action in reality. She’s a girl my size having to become a survivor and overcome a lot of obstacles, and I wanted it to be believable that she could do it. All the action scenes when I had to fight with a man bigger than me—we had to figure out how I could actually kick his ass. I wanted to show young girls that it’s cool to be a girl who’s really strong and that watching her, you feel like OK, she might be able to climb that wall. She might be able to lift her own weight.”
ON LIFE WITH HUSBAND MICHAEL FASSBENDER:
“I’m a big romantic, and I always have been.”
ON HOW HER FRIENDS SURPRISED HER FOR HER BACHELORETTE PARTY:
“I was there [in Paris] for the Louis Vuitton show and suddenly got a text that says, ‘Go out. We need you right now.’ They kidnapped me for 24 hours!”
ON HER HOPE FOR MORE WOMEN IN LEADING ROLES:
“I think it’s an interesting time now, because, sadly even if there are some stories being highlighted with female leads, it’s still—you know, I did five films in a row where I was the lead, and I didn’t have another woman to work with. It was still just men in it, even though they had a female lead. So being an actress wanting to work with women? It’s an exciting time now, because I think the awareness will bring a change.”
Alicia Vikander has a mantra. “When things are hard,” she begins, slowly, “I say, ‘Yeah, but it’s not tougher than ballet school.’” Alicia enrolled at the Royal Swedish Ballet School at nine, and danced with companies until she was 19, which amounts to a childhood spent in permanent discipline. “One thing you learn in a school like that, if it doesn’t break you, is that no one does [the work] for you.”
It’s a rather worldly lesson to have internalised as a child, but as preliminary training for Hollywood, you’d hazard the lesson was invaluable. Today, the 29-year-old Oscar winner still has the physical mannerisms of a dancer: she sits, back straight on her chair, legs crossed, occasionally grasping her feet and rocking from side to side. Her first English-speaking role was only “six or seven years ago”, and she speaks slowly and carefully, though it doesn’t seem like the uncertainty of the non-native speaker, but instead a deep-rooted thoughtfulness.
“EXTREMELY IMPORTANT ISSUES ARE BEING BROUGHT UP ABOUT EQUALITY, SAFE WORKPLACES AND EQUAL PAY.”
For there is plenty for Alicia to reflect on. Next week, her latest film, Tomb Raider, will be released; she, of course, plays the video game riot grrrl Lara Croft in the new adaptation, directed by Norwegian director Roar Uthaug, and co-starring Dominic West and Kristin Scott Thomas. It is one of the last projects Alicia had committed to before she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 2016, for her role as Gerda Wegerer in The Danish Girl, which means that she is now, for the first time in two years, picking new projects, working out who she wants to be next. She recently took four months off – the first break in five and a half years when she didn’t have something else in preparation – and travelled to Japan: “Number one on my list until I went – and I want to go back and see more.” She is reading, greedily. “I don’t want to say what,” she says, coy, granting only that she enjoyed Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens and Homo Deus. She is tentatively interested in producing. “I love filmmaking, so as an actor it’s been wonderful, but you come in at a later stage in the process. But to be there and develop an idea and move forward – that’s what I put a lot of time into thinking about right now.”
And, crucially, Alicia is re-examining Hollywood itself, which is volatile and pitching wildly. In October 2017, the sexual assault allegations made against producer Harvey Weinstein kickstarted the #MeToo movement that has galloped around the world. Hollywood is in a period of painful self-examination; meanwhile, its women are righteously furious. In January, more than 300 Hollywood actresses, including Natalie Portman, Reese Witherspoon and Shonda Rhimes, launched Time’s Up, an anti-harassment initiative pledging a fund of more than $13 million to help women everywhere take aggressors to court; at the Golden Globes actresses wore black to symbolise the new mission. The BAFTAs prescribed the same dress code, and in February, Uma Thurman spoke, powerfully, about her treatment by Weinstein and his antic auteur Quentin Tarantino.
“I’VE NEVER FELT SUCH SUPPORT FROM WOMEN. IT’S WONDERFUL.”
Alicia worked with Weinstein on period drama Tulip Fever: a unilateral disaster that was delayed time and again, and ultimately grossed only $7 million of the $25 million it cost during a limited US release. She wasn’t aware of any accusations levelled at the producer, and says she has never been “put in any situation like that”. “We were just really disgusted and shocked,” she says, quietly. “It felt horrible.”
Alicia talks about the importance of amplifying victims’ stories, and is determined that we must not “put the focus on [perpetrators]”. “It’s been wonderful to see that, more and more over the weeks and months, the focus is on the women and what they’ve gone through, and what the change can be,” she says. She observes that equality in Hollywood, and everywhere, is not just about optics, but also the measurable, visible things like appointing female directors and producers. “Extremely important issues are being brought up about equality, safe workplaces and equal pay. But also, I think, that in any industry, we women have been taught that you have to elbow your way in, because there are no spots for us, so in a big group, it’s only going to be one woman who gets a shot. That’s imprinted. And suddenly, I’ve never felt such support from women. It’s wonderful.”
Notably, she was also part of a group of 900 actresses in Sweden who pulled together a live staging of anonymous stories of sexual harassment and assault – three weeks after the Weinstein news broke – which was attended by politicians and was broadcast live on Swedish television. “It was incredible,” she says. She has been fortunate to work with female directors, such as Swedish filmmaker Lisa Langseth, with whom Alicia has collaborated on three films; Alicia hopes that one day she can be a mentor to a younger actress in the way that Langseth has been to her.
“CHANGE IS ABOUT INITIATIVES LIKE TIME’S UP AND 50/50 BY 2020, IT’S ABOUT MAKING SURE YOU INCLUDE WOMEN IN ALL DEPARTMENTS, ABOUT REALLY MAKING AN EFFORT TO NOT ONLY HAVE WOMEN IN FRONT OF THE CAMERA, BUT ALSO BEHIND.”
“I’ve been really lucky; my first three films were all directed by a female director. I’ve had some really cool women to look up to. I think the sisterhood really creates a mentoring environment. Change is about initiatives like Time’s Up and 50/50 by 2020, it’s about making sure you include women in all departments, about really making an effort to not only have women in front of the camera, but also behind.”
Alicia grew up in Gothenberg, the only daughter of actress Maria Fahl Vikander, and Svante Vikander, a psychiatrist, who separated when she was two months old. She lived between their two homes and says she is very close to both parents, though undeniably it was her mother who shaped her identity. “My mum brought me to the theatre – it’s hard to say what’s nature or nurture. It’s a wonderful thing to grow up and see your parent doing something that they love, and that’s just been so clear as long as I’ve been alive.” She saw her mother perform this summer, when she was back in Sweden for a fleeting visit. “I saw my mum’s play. It was awesome. I sat there and was so proud. She’s fucking good.”
As a child, Alicia acted in small theatre productions and attended the Royal Swedish Ballet School, before an injury forced her to give up dancing. She auditioned for drama school twice, but failed to get in; she started appearing in short films and TV dramas in Sweden, winning a rising star award at the Stockholm Film Festival in 2010, for her feature film debut in Pure, directed by Langseth. Her first mainstream Hollywood role was as Princess Ekaterina in Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina, alongside Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, after which came a roll call of modern classics including Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Danish Girl, and The Light Between Oceans, where she met her husband, the actor Michael Fassbender. The two married in Ibiza last autumn.
“DUE TO ALL THE ACTION SCENES THAT [THE CHARACTER] HAD TO BE PUT THROUGH, I WANTED IT TO BE PLAUSIBLE THAT A YOUNG GIRL COULD FIGHT A MAN WHO’S OBVIOUSLY BOTH STRONGER AND BIGGER.”
At 29, she seems an old soul, though a mischievous spirit whirrs beneath the surface. She grins when she talks about shooting Tomb Raider, calling co-star West “a hoot”. “There was never a quiet moment on set.” Playing an action heroine was like professional playtime, and she gained five or six kilograms of muscle to play the role: “Due to all the action scenes that [the character] had to be put through, I wanted it to be plausible that a young girl could fight a man who’s obviously both stronger and bigger.” Learning to do a pull-up was exhilarating. “To feel like you have that strength is pretty cool.” Though she didn’t keep up the superhuman regime. “I realised it takes about four months to gain anything, and only three weeks to [lose] it all!” she exclaims with frustration.
Alicia trained with a mountain of a man called Magnus, a “cool guy”, who’d tease her. “I love to drink wine and eat food, and Magnus would sit next to me with his glass of wine and his dessert.” She gave up drinking for seven months, and ate and ate: “Three eggs at 7am, and two fillets of fish, a bowl of rice and veggies at 10am, at 1pm, at 4pm, and at 7pm. I ate more than I’ve ever done in my entire life.” She scorns people who ask her if she gave up carbs. “There was no getting rid of carbs. It was about eating good, and clean.” The physicality reminded her of ballet school. “When I danced, I liked that side of it.”
But she did miss menus, and wine. Cooking equals relaxation, having time to “choose ingredients for two hours and read up on some different recipes and make your own mix and then have friends come over, make sure they drink lots of wine, listen to music, and be in the kitchen for four hours. It’s my dream day.” Her knockout recipe is a bouillabaisse, homemade bread and homemade aioli; she also makes a mean pie. “My own dough – savoury pies and sweet pies.” When she’s on the junket carousel, turning up and finding she has a kitchen changes her mood. “It suddenly makes me feel like I have time off.” She’s delighted with her suite at the Ham Yard Hotel in Piccadilly, which is where we’ve met: she points to a small kitchen off the living room, smiling.
The character of Lara Croft was meaningful to her. “I was a kid who liked playing video games. But when I was growing up, no girls did, and I always hid it. I didn’t have a Playstation, but I went to friends’ houses. I remember that I’d never seen a female protagonist in a video game ever. I tried to play it, and was a bit too scared. I mainly spent time practising in the manor [in the game], running around. But then I did go back and play it in my late teens.
“And as a child I loved to go to the cinema, watch the big movies, the adventures – that genre specifically. I loved Indiana Jones, I grew up with the Mummy films, I loved those films. To be able to be a part of Tomb Raider was like a childhood dream.”
Warner Bros and MGM launched the Alicia Vikander-starrer in nine Asian markets this weekend, kicking off with $14.1M on 3,425 screens. The latest adaptation of the best-selling video game franchise comes 15 years after we last saw Lara Croft, played by Angelina Jolie at the time. This outing, directed by The Wave’s Roar Uthaug, is an origin story for the heroine who sets out to solve her father’s mysterious death. Kristin Scott Thomas, Walton Goggins, Daniel Wu and Nick Frost co-star.
The second film in the original series, 2003’s Cradle Of Life, dropped markedly from the 2001 first pic, both domestically and internationally. This one, with Oscar-winner Vikander, is rolling out overseas ahead of domestic and comes at a time ripe for kick-ass female heroines. Offshore now has two in rapid release following last weekend’s opener Red Sparrow which had solid holds this session. Crowding matters, there’s another upcoming actioner (particularly destined to appeal to Asian audiences) in the form of Pacific Rim: Uprising.
Looking at comps in like-for-like markets, the Tomb Raider opening was on par with Jolie-starrer Salt, 10% ahead of Resident Evil: The Final Chapter, 44% above Ghost In The Shell, 82% bigger than the original The Hunger Games and more than double last week’s Red Sparrow and each of the Divergent movies.
The debut this weekend ranked Tomb Raider as the No. 1 film in Asia (outside China and Vietnam which open next session). Its best performance was in Korea where it was No. 2 with $2.9M on 800 screens behind local pic The Vanished which had an extra day. It dominated the Top 5 films in release in Indonesia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Thailand and the Philippines.
It’s early days and next weekend will be telling. The coming session sees 45 markets added including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia, Brazil, Mexico and China.
ALICIA VIKANDER – MOMENTUM
By Brittany Santos
When Alicia Vikander began her journey to gaining four kilos of pure muscle and becoming Lara Croft, good pal, and fellow Swede, Alexander Skarsgard was her ‘gymspiration.’ “I told my trainer I wanted to look like Alexander in Tarzan,” she giggles cheerfully. “He was my end goal.”
The pap shots of Vikander, alongside new husband Michael Fassbender, on a boat in Ibiza reveal her abs of steel, clearly showing the Oscar winner achieved her end goal. But will that be enough to please loyal fans of the Tomb
Raider universe, many resolutely loyal to Angelina Jolie’s previous efforts as the video game vixen? Vikander appears optimistic, and breathtakingly stunning as always.
With a dark purple shirt hiding the fruits of her gym effort – although she claims it’s more or less gone – the actress is understated, yet glamorous. Her light chocolate locks hang loosely past her shoulders while her dewy olive complexion and dark oval eyes cut a dazzling effect. She’s warm and chatty, but a glacial underlay is always present. And ever consistent, she remains steadfastly rooted in her desire to keep married life and all its details firmly under wraps. When it comes to Lara however, Vikander is entirely forthcoming, especially regarding her nerves for the upcoming big bucks epic which could make, or break, her fledgling superstar career. But the 29-year-old is keen to distance her version from the Jolie vehicle, claiming her origin story is an entirely untapped chapter in Croft’s life and will set the new movie on a different plane from its predecessors.
In a fun chat, Vikander talks about her reluctance to sign on and why Jolie is an inspiration. She also chats working out, Wonder
Woman, plans to direct, feminism, her Oscar and social media.
STRIPLV: Your career keeps gathering momentum with the Oscar for The Danish Girl, your Bourne film, and Light Between the Oceans. Now you’re starring in Tomb Raider. Playing Lara Croft, she’s one of the first feminist icons in video games and then Hollywood movies, to have an action franchise revolve around this bad ass; I assume a large part of the appeal for you?
VIKANDER: Yes, absolutely. I played the games with friends of my parents’ children, on their PlayStation and then grew up watching Angelina in the movies. You know, we know that video games are a very male-dominated world to have a female protagonist in this way was so intriguing to me.
STRIPLV: Is it important to you to play strong-minded and determined women?
VIKANDER: If possible, yes. I feel drawn to characters who have a lot of willpower and spirit, and I like to be able to go on a journey with them. The most important thing is to find a good project and make a film that you will enjoy being part of and create something that the audience will enjoy.
STRIPLV: Taking this on, were you concerned or are you still concerned by the comparisons with Angelina?
VIKANDER: I could never compete with what Angelina did. She’s perfect! She made her into an icon because she is an icon. But this is our different interpretation; we’re focused on the reboot of the game, which came out a few years ago. It’s the origin story; we’re not trying to copy or reinvent what she did.
STRIPLV: Explain how that works here?
VIKANDER: Based on [the] reboot game which came out four years ago, it’s an examination of how she becomes who she was to become, how she morphs into the Tomb Raider, so we see Lara at a very different part of her life. At this moment, she’s trying to understand who she is and what path to take and you get to learn how and why she goes on to become this icon. She’s the action hero, or she will become this action hero, but also a very relatable young girl who’s ordinary in so
many ways. She’s living in East London at the beginning, living her life and just trying to find her place on her way to her destiny. She still has the same fire and drive and spirit but without all the experience under her belt. (Laughs)
STRIPLV: Surely you were hesitant?
VIKANDER: You know, I was skeptical when they first spoke to me about it because why would you want to tinker with something already done. It’s done. Even when I told my mum about the movie, she immediately said, “Oh that’s the Angelina Jolie movie, yeah she was great.”
STRIPLV: What changed your mind?
VIKANDER: I met Roar and the producers and got a very concrete sense of what they were after and what they planned to do based on the new game which I had never played before; I had only played the older version. And getting to play the newer game, I realized there was this untold story to tell which separates it from the previous movies and that spoke to me. And that was it really.
STRIPLV: Do you like the idea of playing a very physical role in a big action film like this?
VIKANDER: Yes. I’ve always been such a big fan of these kinds of action and adventure movies, and I had been a big fan of the video game of Lara Croft, too. When I was a teenager, I would always watch the Indiana Jones movies and then, of course, it was such a thrill to be playing in the Jason Bourne film even though my character didn’t get to do action scenes herself. So playing Lara Croft is something I would never have dreamed of doing. But that’s how incredible and unpredictable this business can be.
STRIPLV: Did you meet with Angelina?
VIKANDER: I haven’t, but I’m an admirer of her and her career. I’m inspired what she has achieved, and if I could do half of what she’s done, I would be so happy. Her path, she did a lot of varied, really complex character studies in these fantastic independents and moved on to these big blockbusters and is now making her own movies, producing and directing. She’s an inspiration to me and so many working in this industry.
STRIPLV: You’ve just produced Euphoria. Are you planning on directing?
VIKANDER: I don’t know. I like the idea of it, but the reality is entirely different, and it really would have to be the right story that I felt passionately connected to.
STRIPLV: What obstacles did you encounter while producing?
VIKANDER: Producing Euphoria was such a daunting challenge, but I was surprised how natural and quickly it came to me. I felt very comfortable in that role and I also liked being involved from the ground floor up. Sometimes as an actor, you can come onto a movie a week before they start shooting and you’re very detached and removed from the inception. Whereas here, I was there from the beginning, witness to this birth of a wonderful project. The entire journey was an education. Each task as a producer was a first for me, and there were the inevitable bumps along the way, it’s a learning curve that you appreciate and assimilate.
STRIPLV: Did you ever dream that one day, you’d be headlining a huge action blockbuster like this?
VIKANDER: I love going to the movies, it’s one of my passions, actually going to the movies and staring up at the screen. There’s a magic to it. And much of that enchantment comes from movies like Indiana Jones and The Mummy, real cavalier hero adventures. I must have seen The Mummy 20 times by now, and just dreaming one day being that hero; I’ve always wanted to be that.
STRIPLV: The training, how awful was it?
VIKANDER: Not awful at all. (Laughs) I learned more about physicality than I ever realized and I’m shocked how my body reacted to this training and lifestyle.
STRIPLV: Have you kept up the regime?
VIKANDER: No, it’s slipped a little by the wayside. Six days a week in the gym, a couple of hours a day— that is very grueling and rigorous. Without my amazing trainer, Magnus, I don’t have the discipline to do it on my own.
STRIPLV: But you’re quite used to it from your days as a dancer. Did that help at all?
VIKANDER: It’s a different world. But that’s a big reason why I wanted to do something like this, I’ve been after a role with high endurance physicality, and it doesn’t get more physical than Lara.
STRIPLV: What was the specific training?
VIKANDER: A lot of weights, lots of lifting. A combination of boxing, MMA, climbing and lots of high interval training.
STRIPLV: All the fun stuff!
VIKANDER: Yes, all the fun stuff.
STRIPLV: And you can lift your own weight now, can’t you?
VIKANDER: I never thought that would be possible. I’m not sure if I can do it now, but that was a very empowering moment.
STRIPLV: Wonder Woman was the biggest hit of the year and a huge step for women in the industry.
VIKANDER: I went to see that while we were shooting, and I think to see the opening sequence with all women in this amazing fight scene, I was blown away
by the idea that I don’t think I had ever seen that before, which I was sort of taken aback by that revelation.
STRIPLV: Tulip Fever saw you play another period piece. Do you enjoy these kinds of historical dramas?
VIKANDER: I love exploring different times. It’s exciting to do the research and understand how people behaved in different ways and there were different sets of rules governing their behavior. You try to put yourself in the position of a woman in past times whose world was much more restricted, and you try to imagine how you would feel and how you might want to rebel against those limitations. It’s very fascinating.
STRIPLV: Do you become very philosophical or caught up in the lives of a woman like Sophia or other women characters like the one you played in The Light Between the Oceans?
VIKANDER: I become very invested in my characters, and I try very hard to understand their emotional world and their psychology. What’s interesting for me is being able to push myself and get outside of my comfort zone. It may seem strange, but I usually look for roles which scare me and make me worry about whether I can really pull it off. I feel that the more I challenge myself, the more I will evolve as an actor and as an individual.
STRIPLV: How do you view the evolution taking over Hollywood?
VIKANDER: Society is changing for the better, and as long as the conversation continues and continues to continue, positive change will come from that. We cannot accept the norm for what it’s perceived to be. Diversity is the key to telling all stories and where is diversity without women also telling those stories? And I want to actively be involved and do whatever I can in my power to working with incredibly talented women, propelling this shift.
STRIPLV: It’s nearly two years since you won your Oscar but I know you left it behind in LA the day after. Firstly, how could you do that and have you been reunited?
VIKANDER: Well yes, it’s nice, we’re reunited now after a long-distance relationship. It’s tough. (Laughs) Because I was working so much, I envisioned it getting lost with all the travel and it’s also really heavy, there’s no way I could drag it around. So I thought it was a safer option to leave it with my friend’s daughter who I knew would be so careful and caring of him. She was always sending me updates and messages, lots of Facetiming, letting me know he was OK, so that was sweet.
STRIPLV: So your Oscar’s with you in London now? Is it on the mantelpiece?
VIKANDER: I still haven’t decided where he’s going to go. He’s quite eye-catching, you need the right spot.
STRIPLV: You’ve said in the past how you were looking to take some time off, but it doesn’t seem like you’re going to be able to do that?
VIKANDER: I don’t think so. Even after the Oscars (where she won for best-supporting actress for The Danish Girl) I had to rush back and go back to work on the Bourne film. But I still find time here and there where I can turn off my phone and disappear for a while and do yoga and enjoy my time away from the movies. And when I wanted to take several months off I got a call from Wim Wenders (for his new film, Submergence, with James McAvoy) and how was I going to say no to a legendary director like that?
STRIPLV: Do you have any fear when to comes to the added pressure of becoming a major star?
VIKANDER: When you’re working, you never think about any of that. And when I have some free time, I spend it with friends and family I’ve known for many years, and I never feel strange or as if people are treating me differently.
STRIPLV: What’s the oddest thing about traveling so much?
VIKANDER: Once I had a Skype dinner with my friends. We each decided to buy a bottle of wine and cook something for ourselves and then sit at a table and Skype each other. The whole thing started as a joke, but it actually worked. We had such a good time that when it was over, we thought we would all go out for a drink together until of course we quickly realized that we were in different parts of the world. But it was a great night anyway!
STRIPLV: Alicia, you’ve been traveling and working virtually non-stop the last several years. Does it ever seem like a dream?
VIKANDER: Sometimes, but it’s one of those beautiful dreams that keeps unfolding. I love the work that I’m doing, and it’s hard to say no to all these projects that are coming my way because you remember how hard you fought to reach this point. There’s also this fear inside you that tomorrow it’s all going to be over which is something that probably stays with you as an actor your entire life. It’s the nature of the job. And I will always have moments when I’m nervous about how audiences react to my work. It keeps me focused.
STRIPLV: Do you still get nervous when beginning a new film?
VIKANDER: Not as much as before. I remember when I was starting to work on The Danish Girl and Eddie (Redmayne) would keep telling me: “Oh, sit down and relax.” This really made me feel so much more at ease that I could finally bring to the camera the level of performance I wanted to give. I always place very high
expectations on myself.
STRIPLV: You mention Facetiming, but I know you’re not a fan of social media. Has that changed?
VIKANDER: No, not at all. I’m not interested in it; I stay in touch with my friends and family, so I fail to see the need, at least in my life.
STRIPLV: Did you ever have any accounts?
VIKANDER: I did have Facebook, which I used for a while but my interest sort of waned. And I did have Instagram, but I didn’t like the idea of posting pictures every day, there’s a pressure there to post good ones and I lost interest. I’m just not good with it. And I like privacy; I like keeping things to myself.
STRIPLV: Do you think it will be difficult to keep your private life with Michael Fassbender from receiving too much attention?
VIKANDER: It’s something that I’ve chosen not to speak about, and I think that is the best way to deal with it. He’s an amazing actor and the rest I want to keep private.
STRIPLV: Do your parents also still play a big role in your life?
VIKANDER: We’re very close. They know me very well, and I have a lot of confidence in their opinions. It was my father who called me and convinced me to do The Danish Girl because he said it was the best script he had ever read.
STRIPLV: You’ve become close to fashion designer Nicholas Ghesquiere. Do you consider yourself a fashionista?
VIKANDER: I love to wear designer clothes on special occasions and I’m very interested in design and the sheer beauty and art that goes into fashion. But at home, I’m much more comfortable sitting around in my pajamas.
STRIPLV: Your parents separated when you were very young. Obviously, you’ve stayed close to both of them?
VIKANDER: Yes. They’re both very important in my life, and I always maintained a close relationship with my father. He was the one who convinced me to play in A Royal Affair (the 2012 Danish film which won a Best Foreign Film Oscar nomination) because he loved the story so much. It meant that I had to study Danish for eight weeks, but I saw that as a great challenge, and I’m glad that I did it.
STRIPLV: Was it difficult to grow up with two sets of families?
VIKANDER: No, because there was always so much love in each house. I always felt a sense of security and support from both my parents. I never saw them living together, so I grew up thinking that this was the normal situation that they were apart.
STRIPLV: You grew up first wanting to become a ballet dancer. Was acting a natural transition for you?
VIKANDER: After working in Swedish TV I went to study law and I was very interested in becoming a producer. But then I had the chance to do this very important Swedish film, Pure, and that changed everything. After that, I thought that acting was something I loved doing and that I would probably be able to earn my living that way.
STRIPLV: It’s amazing to look back at how far you’ve come since you initially started out wanting to become a dancer growing up in Sweden. What are your memories when it comes to dancing?
VIKANDER: I trained as a ballerina until I was injured and had to have surgery on my foot and I still have problems with my foot and my back today. But I never had the kind of commitment I would have needed to become a professional dancer. My mother was an actress and when I started getting serious about acting, I did so without knowing whether I would ever even get the chance to work outside of Sweden. My dream was to go on stage at the Royal Theatre in Stockholm and try to earn a living working in Swedish films. I was very realistic when it came to my ambitions. But then I saw (fellow Swedish actress) Noomi Rapace play in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo which had international success and opened doors for her, and that was when I started thinking that it might be possible to have a career abroad. I moved to London and I worked very hard on practicing my English because I knew that being able to speak the language without an accent would be my biggest challenge competing against other actors in the US and the UK. I’ve worked with some very good English teachers over the last several years, and I still feel I can improve.
STRIPLV: How badly do you miss your life in your native Sweden?
VIKANDER: Sweden will always be a huge part of me. But you know the funny thing? You only start to appreciate your cultural heritage when you’re traveling, and you’ve left your country, which is what happened to me. I’m very glad to have this wonderful opportunity to live and work in so many different cities and see things from a different perspective, but I still feel very close to my country and that special feeling you have for your own culture. That will never change.
STRIPLV: Do you look forward to going back to Sweden whenever you get the chance?
VIKANDER: Yes, but it’s been very hard because I’ve been working so much. I sometimes get homesick for my family and friends but when you’re traveling so much and living in hotel rooms your life becomes very different. I would still love
to go and spend some time on these beautiful islands that we have in Sweden. It’s very peaceful there.
STRIPLV: What’s the most difficult aspect of your life in the film business?
VIKANDER: It’s being out of touch with my friends and family for long periods of time. It’s almost impossible to plan getting together because you never know exactly where you’re going to be because new projects are constantly popping up and you’re often shooting in different parts of the world. I’ve spent the last four or five years living out of three suitcases and going from one hotel to another. But that’s also what makes this life exciting because you don’t know what lies ahead for you.
STRIPLV: You have an advantage in that your English is excellent.
VIKANDER: Thank you! Being able to speak English very well is definitely the most important thing if you want to be able to work internationally. When I did Anna Karenina, I worked very hard on trying to get my accent right. That was a very important step for me because all the work and effort I put into perfecting my English enabled me to keep working in American or British films and it’s like the whole world has opened up to me now and given me a career outside of Sweden.
STRIPLV: You’ve become a fashion icon of late. Designers seem to be rushing to offer you fabulous outfits for every event?
VIKANDER: I love fashion, and for me, these designer outfits are works of art. When you look at the stitching and the attention to detail you can see the handwork that goes into it, the workmanship is incredible. I never had that much money to buy myself clothes like that, and now that I’m able to wear these beautiful outfits it’s unbelievable.
STRIPLV: Do you try to dress very chic when you’re not attending big events?
VIKANDER: (Laughs) I’m starting to pay more attention. But usually, I’m a jeans and T-shirt girl during the day. I’m trying to shop around more for myself and look for interesting pieces whenever I get the chance.
STRIPLV: Do you ever feel like you’re caught up in some strange whirlwind that is taking hold of you?
VIKANDER: It does feel like there’s momentum of its own. It’s a lot of fun, though, and I don’t want it to stop, at least not now! (Laughs)