Dream Casting a Tomb Raider Series
(After the fun I had making our Mass Effect Dream Casting article, I have decided to make this a new article series where we pitch casting for game/nerd themed live action.)
One of my many favorite game series is the Tomb Raider franchise. One of the many things that makes Tomb Raider special, is that while it was born in video games, it works just as well in other mediums. While many video games struggle to leave that medium and thrive in other media, Tomb Raider works for film, comics, ect...
While the future still promises a Netflix anime and a Alicia lead TR Sequel, I would still like to see more Tomb Raider projects in the future. I think there is room for a live action tv series, or perhaps games made by other studios. Crystal Dynamics seems to have their hands full, so TR4 feels far far away. We could have other studios give us spin off games. For this article, I am focusing on some dream casting I would pick for a live action series.
What makes a good Lara Croft? Lara Croft has had a variety of representations over the years, some ranging from more vixen to more cold to more adventurer. Some are more naive and innocent, while others more experienced with gravitas. Lara Croft needs to be a strong character, with a sense of adventure. She is often portrayed as having either incredible bravery or incredible sense of willpower. She is strong, a survivor, an explorer, and a hero. For this list, I tried to balanced picks who achieve the "look" of Lara Croft with those who also could bring the "vibe" or attitude.
(This list represents purely the opinion of the writer, and has no insider knowledge about any live action plans or casting)
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Lara Croft: HoYeon Jung
Notable Role for Selection: Squid Game
I'm going to start off my list with a admittedly a more unconventional choice. Lately with the success of shows like Squid Game (where HoYeon has gained her most mainstream fame) and other shows like Star Wars Visions, we've seen lately that eastern asian creators and studios have a place making mainstream content that will be popular in the west. I'd really love to see a talented Japaness or Korean studio tackle a Tomb Raider story. I don't want to just cast an Asian actress as Lara Croft, but I would like to see an all asian cast and studio behind the series. I would love to see their cultural perspective, and give them that creative freedom. HoYeon proved to be a strong, bad ass character in Squid Game. She has the stoic gravitas from a Lara Croft that I could totally see just working well. It also helps that the actress has shared she is a fan of the franchise, which means she would bring a passion to the role. I think Lara Croft has been around long enough to see what other diverse versions of the character could look like. Tomb Raider is in many ways not dissimilar to a super hero, and super heroes often benefit to alternate and diverse versions to add to the lore of said character.
Lara Croft: Selena Gomez
Notable Role for Selection: Only Murders in the Building
I will admit that I wouldn't have thought of Selena Gomez. I didn't even know she was much of an actress any more. Like many of you, most of our memories of Selena Gomez involve her Disney or singing careers. It wasn't until watching the very enjoyable drama-comedy Only Murders in the Building was I reminded that she also could act. Her role in this show shows she can really pull off the strong and somewhat "snobbishly-charming" character that a rich Angelina-jolie style Lara character would need. She certainly has the look of Lara, and now I am convinced she can have the attitude to play a younger but still charismatic Jolie-style Lara. If you are not convinced, you need to watch her latest performance, and seeing her in the fur coat with Beats headphones really sold me on a young 20-something "rebellious" Lara.
Lara Croft: Ana De Armas
Notable Role for Selection: Blade Runner 2049 + No Time to Die (Trailer Impressions)
Ana De Armas really was a solid unsung high point in an otherwise forgettable Blade Runner 2049. That is saying something in a movie with the acting chops of Ryan Gosling. I swear I don't remember a thing from that movie where nothing happens, other than Ana De Armas giving a really solid performance as a Holographic AI. She just absolutely nails the strong but emotionally allowing character a Lara Croft needs, and her upcoming role in No Time to Die really just cements her need for this role. Seeing her fight in evening wear really just fits the Jolie-era Croft better than most.
Lara Croft : Eiza Gonzalez
Notable Role for Selection: Godzilla vs Kong
Godzilla vs Kong is a movie where the monster action is great, but the human narratives are just forgettable and abysmal; that being said for Eiza Gonzalez. Her performance as the "Evil Corporate Lady" did the absolute best it could for the lines she was handed. She manages to be the only memorable human from that movie. A badly written character in a story that really doesn't care about the humans was still enough to show that Eiza Gonzalez is awesome. She nails strong badass even if the character she was playing was flat. She has the look of Lara Croft, and she can totally play the bad ass adventurer. Getting her in a iconic Lara Croft outfit would convince any fan how she needs to be Lara Croft ASAP.
Lara Croft: Isabela Moner
Notable Role for Selction: Instant Family, Sweet Girl
Often times Lara Croft is pictured as a 20-30's woman at her prime, an experienced explorer with resources and skills. We have only gotten "Rookie Lara" a few times with the 2013 reboot game and the 2018 Alicia Vikander reboot. I was wondering what if we got an even more inexperienced Lara. I think a teenage Lara Croft would be really interesting narrative, perhaps still in high school. A "Young Croft" story could be really interesting, and Isabela Moner came to mind as someone who could really fit the Croft look, but at a much earlier point in her life. In Instant family she really excelled at playing a character who was forced to deal with things a teenager shouldn't have to, and in Sweet Girl, we see her play a action heroine forced to fight at a young age.
Lara Croft: Camila Cabello
Camila Cabello is probably a more obscure pick as the only recent role I have seen her in is the very surprisingly entertaining musical Amazon Prime Video Cinderella remake. While I thought she did a great performance as Cinderella, Cinderella is hardly the same role as Tomb Raider. In fact Cinderella and Lara Croft have very little in common. That being said, what she excelled at was playing a super real and relatable character. I feel like she could play a less "super hero-y" version of the character, and play as modern "normal" version of the character. She could take on a role of the character that is more an aspiring archeologist rather than this legacy super hero.