It’s no secret that Warner Bros. is looking to fast-track their secret Tomb Raider movie project, with recent reports saying that the studio has been testing lots of potential lead actresses for the iconic role of Lara Croft. Today, that search has ended, with Warner Bros. confirming that their The Man from U.N.C.L.E. starlet, Alicia Vikander has won the role of the titular tomb raider! Vikander has also recently starred in highly celebrated award-winning movies like Ex Machina and The Danish Girl, the latter of which she won 2015’s Academy Award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ with.
Back during the 2000’s, Paramount released two theatrical Tomb Raider movies, 2001’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and 2003’s Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – The Cradle of Life, which, despite negative reviews from critics, went on to collectively gross over $400 million worldwide, even if mostly from the first movie. Those movies starred a then-little-known Angelina Jolie, and are credited with her rise to stardom.
After Paramount gave up the Tomb Raider movie rights, following the second movie under-performing, and the game series’ steep decline in the wake of the movie-inspired (and widely disliked) Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness in 2003, Warner Bros. acquired the rights anew in the wake of the widely celebrated release of 2013’s series reboot, simply titled ‘Tomb Raider’, which originally launched for PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, before expanding to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One at the start of 2014. That game has since been followed by a sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, which originally released exclusively for Xbox One and Xbox 360 late last year (much to the ire of many gamers who saw it as unfair platform exclusion), before expanding to PC early this year, with a PlayStation 4 release set for this Fall.
Allegedly, Warner Bros. was waiting to announce Vikander’s casting, until they got an updated draft of the movie’s script, and approved it. The upcoming Tomb Raider movie reboot has already found a director in Norwegian helmer, Roar Uthaug, who has corroborated reports that he aims to adapt the new, rebooted saga of Tomb Raider games that began from 2013’s game series reboot. This would likely mean that the reboot movie will be darker and grittier than the duo of Paramount movies that starred Jolie, and would instead center on a young, raw and untrained version of Lara Croft, as she struggles to survive after being marooned in a dangerous environment.
Tomb Raider is one of several game properties that license holder, Square Enix has begun work on adapting to film, all of which were acquired by Square Enix’s absorption of former publisher, Eidos. Square Enix has also produced two movies inspired by their Hitman franchise, via 20th Century Fox, and is also developing a Deus Ex movie with CBS Films, a Thief movie with Straight Up Films, and a Just Cause movie, which has yet to find a handler. Reports claim that Square Enix wishes to find a way to link these franchises in a shared movie universe in the long-term, akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe or the DC Extended Universe, though this is currently unconfirmed by the publisher.
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