Alicia Vikander owes a lot to the original “Tomb Raider” and Angelina Jolie.
Before Lara Croft stormed onto her video game screen, the 29-year-old Swedish actress tells ET Canada’s Carlos Bustamante she’d “never seen a female protagonist in a video game.”
“Lara Croft got my attention when I was about 19,” says Vikander who “grew up loving adventure… and action films.”
Now, the Oscar-winning actress is getting her chance to tackle “Tomb Raider” as Croft, a young woman who pushes herself beyond her limits in the search of her missing adventurer father. Vikander says it meant a lot for her to be invited to take on this role in the rebooted action movie, especially since it would be an origin story for the butt-kicking character made famous by Jolie in two movies in the early 2000s.
“I met with the producers and the director and they told me it was an origin story and I truly felt this was a way to relate to her and be on the journey with her and watch her become this warrior that she is and a way to bring this world to a 2018 audience,” she says. “You root for her and you feel like you’re on her journey because you see that it’s tough. She’s put through a lot of pain.”
Vikander channelled her character’s pain through an intense training regimen that also allowed her to play Croft as a feminine-but-strong woman.
“I love to find ways of stepping away from myself,” she explains. “I’m a very petite girl, you know, and I loved that it was integrated into the script that she was a very feminine woman with a lot of physical strength.”
“I was like, if [the] director and producers want this action adventure to be more real and gritty, then you need to buy the fact she can do these things,” Vikander continues. “I got inspired in the film industry over the years seeing some amazing stunt girls and what they can do and I thought, ‘I need to be like them, I need to have that kind of strength.'”
Vikander proved she was up for the task, undergoing a physical transformation, adding muscle to her petite frame.
“I did put on… 12 pounds of muscle, but it was not only about building, you need to find movement and be quick,” she explains. “I did rock climbing and trained with incredible cool women-MMA, boxing, swimming, cycling. It was so many different elements.”
Check out Vikander’s moves when “Tomb Raider” opens in theatres on March 16.