With the announcement yesterday that Oscar winning producer of The Departed Graham King and his company GK films are set to reboot the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider franchise, tongues have been wagging about just who might fill the boots and don the tank top and tinted shades of the video game heroine.
Submitted for your approval – or disapproval – as we always like to do in our Fantasy Casting series, I’ve selected eight actresses who could play the British, butt-kicking belle.
36 years old
Why: For many, she already is the real life embodiment of Lara Croft having starred in two financially successful summer blockbusters that caused something of a media circus. There’s no other actress in the world who comes close to the physical resemblance of the video games’ Croft. Salt proved that Jolie was still the closest thing we have to an accomplished action heroine in Hollywood, and her accent in the Croft sequel was a vast improvement on her dodgy Dick van Dyke-esque one of the first. Though lord knows what accent she was putting on in The Tourist.
Her latest vehicle The Tourist was fully financed by Graham King’s GK Films, so there’s already a strong relationship with Jolie…
Why Not: All signs point to a reboot rather than a sequel, which means reinventing and reimagining a character, which would rule Jolie out. Furthermore, Jolie’s stock is not what it once was; The Tourist was a monumental failure critically and financially and Salt didn’t quite prove she is the global megastar Hollywood hoped she was. Since embracing the adopt-one-from-every-country attitude, her popularity has fell with the red-blooded males – The Tomb Raider demographic – and one can’t dispute that her sellability on her sex appeal has waned somewhat as with every new arrival she seems to drop a dress size. Plus, she seems to be kinda done with this franchise and probably wouldn’t want to return even if asked.
26 years old
Why: She’s probably the right age for what GK Films are casting their net for and she’s already effectively done the kick-ass heroine thing as Black Widow in Iron Man and the forthcoming The Avengers. Scarlett surprised many in her superhero debut and there’s no doubting she would fill the costume in a way that would sell the character to horny men of all ages and on magazine covers, etc, like the ‘Jolie’ factor had a decade ago.
Why Not: The British accent might be troublesome and she’s probably going to fill her blockbuster quota as Black Widow for the near future.
27 years old
Why: Her natural personality is of a strong, highly self-confident woman who can be scrappy, aggressive and terrifying in her own way as OWF’s Rob Beames found out when he interviewed her last year for Black Swan. She’s certainly someone who looks like she would hold her own in a fight and she’s a great actress who is due a major leading role.
Why Not: Although she clearly looks tough, she does come across as maybe a little sleight for the role, height-wise. Plus there’s no doubting her toughness but could she convince as the immensely smart, Anthropology-degree explorer? Plus the accent thing again…
28 years old
Why: Queen of versatility, Emily Blunt can do no wrong at the moment; as competent voicing a Gnome as playing a sexy siren or tomboy, or queen bitch. Her performance in The Young Victoria shows she could carry off Croft’s blue-blooded upbringing while performances in Irresistible, My Summer of Love and Wild Target shows she can dispense the alluring charm Croft exhibits with such ease. She was long courted by Jon Favreau to play Black Widow in the Iron Man franchise but only contractual obligations to Gulliver’s Travels stopped her from already playing an action hero.
Why Not: She doesn’t have the strong background in martial arts and hasn’t yet displayed her kick-ass ability in a big budget action-adventure movie. Plus she may not be a big enough name for GK, and we reckon they’ll be looking for an actress on the other end of 25.
29 years old
Why: The Hath is as hot as they come right now. Her nude frolicking in Love and Other Drugs cemented her status as a firm sex symbol while Rachel Getting Married proved her worth as an actress and got her an Oscar nom. And with those big brown eyes and long dark locks she could certainly easily capture the Croft look.
Why Not: Not British, and her accent in Becoming Jane could be described as ‘decent’, at best. Despite her outing in the God-awful comedy/action Get Smart – someone should have got smart and dumped that movie in pre-production – she’s untested in an action movie. Though that will change with the massive Catwoman role in The Dark Knight Rises… such a huge part that would probably rule her out of this.
38 years old
Why: She’s British, she’s a brunette, she’s beautiful and the Underworld movies proved that she’s more than capable of pulling off the acrobatics and the martial arts that Croft is known for. And with her currently reprising her role as Selene in the fourth instalment of the Underworld series, she’s obviously still up for the gruelling schedule of an action movie. If that proves to be a success at the box office, Beckinsale’s sellability as an ass-kicking sex symbol will be back on.
Why Not: Her age is a big disadvantage if the rumours of a ‘Batman Begins’ angle that follows a younger Croft are true. It’s also difficult to look through her body of work and find a performance that was anything more than lukewarm. And she has her own action series already…
14 years Old
Why: We fully expect a Lara Croft reboot to skew younger and with Spider-Man and X-Men: First Class ‘supposedly’ going back to their respective characters early days, why not actually go one further with teenager Chloe Moretz. Her tour de force performance as Hit-Girl in Kick Ass showed us she has the moves and martial arts skills of Croft, while her portrayal of a vampire in Let Me In shows she has the acting chops to do justice to a much deeper heroine than the one we were privy to with Jolie. Left-field, risky, but can’t argue the originality of the choice in what would be an A Young Indiana Jones style adaptation.
Why Not: The biggest objection amongst execs would be her age. Is 14 too young to play Croft? Well as we’ve said above, if they went for a ‘Young Lara Croft’ series that appealed to a young teenage demographic – an inspiring hero for young woman everywhere, then we think it could work. Though GK Films probably wouldn’t want to lose the unsubtle sex appeal of Lara Croft which might be the character’s biggest selling point. True she would be sixteen when the movie is due for release, but given the sex appeal of Lara Croft there would no doubt be protests about exploiting her in this respect.
25 years old.
Why: In four years she has gone from an unknown drama grad from Gravesend to an International sex symbol on both sides of the Atlantic. She’s been sexy in Tamara Drewe, resourceful and dogged in The Disappearance of Alice Creed; played the posh, charming and witty Bond Girl and last summer saw her turn in two action movies in Clash of the Titans and the Prince of Persia. Neither might have been good films, but the blame shouldn’t be put on Arterton’s shoulders.
Why Not: You got me. Perhaps not as accomplished in specific areas as her competition, but she resembles the total package for a rebooted Lara for the next generation.
Arterton is my HOT favourite to land the role.
What are your thoughts..?