It’s been over a decade since Lara Croft made an appearance in cinemas, and many think a third movie is overdue. With the Tomb Raider movie franchise lying dormant, and the video game franchise currently in the midst of a fresh, well-received revival, it was only a matter of time until the movies followed suit. And now it will, with reports linking director Roar Uthaug to the reboot.
As revealed by the Hollywood Reporter, the new Tomb Raider movie will be directed by Norwegian filmmaker Roar Uthaug, whose most recent film The Wave garnered positive reviews at multiple film festivals earlier in the year. Tomb Raider will be his English-language debut and will bring Croft’s first-ever adventure to the screen — much like the rebooted Tomb Raider video game released in 2013. No plot details are available just yet, but the similarities are uncanny — and it could work, with the video game’s decision to detail an origin story changing and maturing the perspective of the character entirely. Evan Daugherty, Marti Noxon, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby have already honed the script, and Transformers 5 co-writer Geneva Robertson-Dworet will be scribing another draft in due course.
Graham King, of GK Films, is producing the new movie and bought the rights to the franchise from Square Enix back in 2011 — rights that reverted to the video game publishers after a few years in development hell at Warner Bros. Two years later, Square Enix would release the rebooted Tomb Raider to critical success, with impressive sales figures that greenlit a sequel, making the decision to reboot the films that much easier. GK soon partnered with MGM in 2013, before Warner Bros. rejoined the movie in 2015. Together, they will bring the project to the big screen.
Uthaug himself is no stranger to a gritty action-adventure. The Wave dealt with a tsunami that strikes Norway and launched the director onto the short-list for the Best Foreign Film category at the Academy Awards. The film follows a series of quietly released movies in his homeland, including horror thriller Cold Prey and survival action thriller Escape. With a director in place, an incoming screenplay, and a development process that has taken five years to bring any substance to the potential of a reboot, the next step will be finding a new Lara Croft. Expect the internet to ignite within days.
Screen Rant have already composed a Top 10 list of actresses who could bring Croft back to the screen. Camilla Luddington earned a spot on the list, and she has the right to be mentioned. She provided the stellar motion capture and vocal performance for the famous heroine in the two recent Tomb Raider games, and if you’ve played these entries, you know she did an awful lot of sliding, falling, jumping, climbing, shooting, fighting, and tomb raiding. Also, her dialogue was worthy of a movie itself; Luddington brought true character and reverence to Croft, something that stood out amidst the R-rated video game content, and something that has been lacking in previous instalments.
Luddington has acting credentials too, with roles on Grey’s Anatomy, True Blood, and Californication under her belt. If you want to link the films to the success of the video game, a game that has reinvented the modern Lara Croft as a naive but plucky heroine who is a little out of her depth, rather than an arrogant aristocrat with an entitled demeanour and tight wardrobe, then casting Luddington is the way to go. Also, it could be a chance for Tomb Raider to make history — casting an actress who transcends video games and movies in one entire franchise, immediately linking the two entities. It has potential. After all, Luddington knows the material, she’s familiar with the character, and it means she could bring her well-received, popular incarnation of Lara Croft to the masses.
Everyone loves an origin story, and the decision to create an origin story for Tomb Raider was a sensible one. The portrayal of an inexperienced Lara Croft in these games is akin to the every man or woman — she is one of us, a true fish out of water, and some critics described the game as Die Hard meets Lord of the Flies. It shows one average woman completely against the odds on a dangerous island, and positive sales figures and critical reception show that everyone loves a story of this nature. Let’s hope MGM and Warner Bros. realize this and capitalize on what could be a potential goldmine for the studios.
Lara Croft made her cinematic debut back in 2001, when Angelina Jolie donned the archaeologist’s twin pistols and trademark bosom-enhancing tank top. Lara Croft: Tomb Raider was met with mixed reviews but was profitable enough to clinch a sequel, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. Between them, the films grossed $430 million at the box office, but the declining gross of the second movie pushed the franchise into stagnant hibernation.
Who will be cast as Lara Croft? Who do you think should play the reincarnation of everyone’s favorite female archaeologist? There’s plenty of time for speculation, as the film is heading into development as we speak. With a wealth of English actresses currently honing their craft in Hollywood, expect the casting to be laborious and interesting.
In the meantime, Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider are available now on various Xbox and PlayStation consoles.
[Image via Square Enix]