It's safe to say that Lara Croft is a pro when it comes to this whole tomb raiding business, which is why the popular character has returned to the big screen in the 2018 reboot of Tomb Raider. This time, however, she's played by actress Alicia Vikander, who's taking over the role from original star Angelina Jolie. And while we’re pretty sure you watched every Tomb Raider movie, we're willing to bet that there are a couple of fun facts that you probably didn't know about the franchise.
1. We Almost Got Some Love
Jennifer Love-Hewitt from Ghost Whisperer wanted the role of Lara Croft really bad when it was announced that a live-action movie was being made. But Simon West, the film's director, could only see fierce Angelina Jolie in the role (thank goodness!).
2. The Clicking Accident
There is an urban myth that Toby Gard, the designer in charge of creating the Tomb Raider games, was fooling around with Lara Croft's physical features, but when he set the specifications for her chest, he clicked a little too much with his mouse and Croft's chest increased by 150 percent. Gard says this isn't true, and is based off of a joking comment he made in an interview. But the point is, look at those chest: it could be true.
3. My Latina Roots
Although Lara Croft was English, she was originally designed to be a South-American, army-type woman named Laura Cruz, who was also more of a mercenary. But the designers at Core Design felt that making the character English would make her more marketable. Guess what? They were right.
4. The New Lara Croft
In March 2018, a new Tomb Raider film came out, now starring Alicia Vikander as the independent young woman who heads to a remote island to find her father, an adventurer who has gone missing. Many feel that the character in this film is far more relatable because she's not some super soldier. In fact, at the start of the film, Croft is broke and struggling to make ends meet. Who wouldn’t relate to that? Ugh.
5. Testing for Drug
Jolie was known for her troubled reputation in the media. To ensure that she stayed on the straight and narrow, she agreed to get drug tested every day. “Look, I want to do it, but I know what my reputation is, and I'll do anything you want to prove that I'm worthy. I'll be reliable, and I'll turn up and I'll work hard,” she told director Simon West.
6. The China Ban
China wasn't happy with the way their country was portrayed in the 2003 sequel, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider–The Cradle of Life. A Chinese official, who wasn't named, told the BBC that, "I feel that the Westerners have made their presentation of China with malicious intention". As a result, China ended up banning the sequel.
7. Check Out Dem Polygons, Girl!
To say that Lara Croft has changed in the gaming world over the years is an understatement. Designers used 230 polygons to create the original character, but that number continued to increase over time: designers for the Playstation 2 games used over 4,000 polygons to give Croft a realistic look.
8. Snakes on a Land Rover
During the filming of the first movie in 2001, the scenes where Lara is behind the wheel of a Land Rover required a bunch re-shoots. Why? Snakes and other animals kept falling through the vehicle's rooftop, which was open. That’s a huge bucket of NOPE.
9. Jolie Did Her Own Stunts
Jolie trained hard for the movie, doing boxing, diving, and even bungee-ballet on her own.
10. Croft Holds a World Record
Lara Croft may have started out as a 3D model for a video game, but even a game character can become a total hit. She actually holds six Guinness World Records for things like "Most Official Real-Life Stand-ins".
11. Straight Out of a Phone Book
We already mentioned how Croft was initially intended to be a South American mercenary, but when that didn't pan out, they grabbed a phone book and started sifting through potential last names to find one that resembled "Cruz" but sounded more British, eventually landing on "Croft".
12. James Bond Didn't Like Tomb Raider
Daniel Craig is the sexy British actor who played James Bond in several films, but you might also remember his role as Alex West in 2001's Tomb Raider. In an interview, he admitted to not being totally satisfied by the experience and added, "There are only so many ways you can look surprised at things blowing up". Gee, tell me how you really feel!
13. Jolie's Short Shorts Issue
Lara Croft may be known for wearing some skimpy clothes and fairly short shorts, but Jolie herself wasn't a fan of Croft's wardrobe staple, and resisted the idea of wearing them. Eventually, she gave in, slipped into Croft's shorts, and did one banging job.
14. A Real Doll
In 2001, a line of sexy Tomb Raider dolls were set to be released on the market. They were made to look like Angelina Jolie's Lara Croft character, and were allegedly targeting young adults and collectors. Without a younger demographic, the toys weren't a big hit.
15. Training to Be Lara Croft
Actress Alicia Vikander, who took on the Croft role in the 2018 reboot of the Tomb Raider film, endured strength and mixed martial arts training, and limited her diet to lots of protein, green veggies, and slow carbs to look like Croft.
16. Croft's Inner Ring
Since Derby, England was where Core Designs conceived of Croft, it made sense that a new inner ring road in Derby ended up being named Lara Croft Way after people voted to make that dream come true. "She was created in Derby and deserves to stand alongside some of the more traditional icons of the city,” said Councillor Lucy Care. Heck yes she does!
17. Everywhere to Me
Croft has appeared in magazines like Time, Newsweek, and Focus. She was also on the Financial Times' front page. Basically, at one point Lara was literally everywhere. If you’re a 2000s kid, you know what I’m talking about. Croft's appearance was even promoted on postage stamps in France, which was…bizarre, to say the least.
18. Mega Hit
Fans loved the original film and it did great at the box office, making a ton of dough. But Rotten Tomatoes critics weren't very happy with the film, saying it had "A senseless plot and action sequences with no emotional impact".
19. Done With the Franchise
Did you know that there could have been a third Tomb Raider movie after the 2003 sequel? But Angelina Jolie was through with the role, and a third film was never made.
20. Many Possibilities
Lara Croft could have been played by a number of different actresses, including Elizabeth Hurley, Ashley Judd, Demi Moore, Sandra Bullock, Denise Richards, Diane Lane, and even Famke Janssen from X-Men.
21. She's a Best Seller
As far as video game history goes, the Tomb Raider franchise is one of the biggest of all time. In fact, the game series has sold over 58 million copies thus far.
22. Catherine Zeta Raider
That's right! Long before Angelina Jolie took on the part, actress Catherine Zeta Jones' name was in the pool of various actresses who were in the running to take on tomb raiding in the role of Lara Croft.
23. Tomb Raider Put Women on the Map
In 2006, game designer Toby Gard stated that Lara Croft, "Was mysterious and had a danger about her" compared to other female characters who were were mostly seen as adult objects, and this is why she saw so much success.
Tomb Raider was released for the Nokia N-Gage in 1996. Sadly, the handheld gaming device offered a very basic version of the game's complex story, and it was so watered down that it totally flopped.
25. Hearing Voices
Eight women in total have voiced the popular character for the video games, and actress Minnie Driver voiced Croft for the animated series.
26. Vikander Was Looking Blue
In the 2018 Tomb Raider film, Alicia Vikander did all her stunts, but she spent so much time in the cold during some of the water scenes that her skin started turning blue. “Bruises and the hits, you kind of just suck up. But the cold, that is the tough thing. We had water cannons being thrown at us. We even had to reshoot some things because I turned too blue,” she told Entertainment Weekly.
27. Vikander Almost Lost Out
While Vikander did a great job in the 2018 film, she wasn't the first actress to be considered for the reboot. That honor went to actress Daisy Ridley and to Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke. If only we could see how that would’ve panned out!
28. Trap the Butler
In Tomb Raider 2, players could run into the freezer, where your annoying but harmless butler would follow. If you could get out fast enough, you could close the door and trap him there, just for fun. Creepy yes, but at least it gets him to stop shadowing your every move.
29. Croft Inspired Jolie
While filming the first movie on location, Jolie realized that Cambodia had some serious landmine issues. "That trip triggered my realization of how little I knew and the beginning of my search for that knowledge,” she said.
30. Fan Service
In Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Jolie admits that many choices in the film were made with fans in mind. “We were aware of all the things that people are looking for, like whether there was a shower scene, so we didn’t ignore that and put a bit of it in, but didn’t really show her body, didn’t really do anything overly sensual".
31. Croft Got Cut
In the first Tomb Raider game, Lara Croft's iconic braid had to be removed, though it came back in later versions. According to Gavin Rummery, the game's programmer, "It had been dropped from the original because it just didn't work properly with all the acrobatic moves– it was more like she had an electric eel attached to her head that had a life of its own".
32. Mona Lisa's Party Face
In the 2003 game Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, players may have noticed that Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa had a masculine face. This swapped face actually belonged to video game composer Peter Connelly, who worked on the game.
33. The Original Six
Unlike most modern-day video games, the team of Core Design actually consisted of a meagre six people who worked on the creation of the first Tomb Raider game.
34. Sony Turned Down Tomb Raider
Long ago, when Core Design presented the game to Sony, the PlayStation console gurus turned them down, and the designers had to alter the game in order to meet Sony's stringent requirements.
35. Megan Croft
Actress Megan Fox was originally lined up take on the Lara Croft role for a Tomb Raider prequel back in 2009 that would have told the story of a young Croft. Obviously, though, this never happened.
36. The 18-Month Development
The work on the first Tomb Raider game started in 1993 and took 18 months to fully develop.
37. 25 And Counting
So far, there are 12 video games that represent the main series in the Tomb Raider franchise, but there are also an additional 13 games that aren't considered part of original storyline that were either designed as spin-offs or released on mobile or handheld devices.
38. Dad’s on Set
Actor Jon Voight, who's Jolie's dad in real life, played Lara Croft's father Lord Richard Croft in the first film. But the actors had a falling out in 2002 when Voight said Jolie had "serious mental problems". You're one to talk there, Jon...
39. The Cheat Code That Never Was
Gamers went crazy looking for a notorious cheat code that would allow a player to remove Lara Croft's clothes in the game, but it turned out to be nothing but a rumor. Boo-hoo! However, fans then created patches to remove her clothing in computer versions of the game. At least you’ve got that…if you’re into that sort of thing.
40. Britney Spears Wannabe
Lara Croft may have been a tomb raiding archaeologist, and she may be deadly with weapon, but there is one thing she couldn’t master: being a bestselling pop star. Trying to cash in on the video game's popularity, the people behind Tomb Raider released two albums, Lara Croft: Come Alive and Lara Croft: Female Icon in the late 90s. But while Lara Croft continues on, these songs have been mostly left in the ash heap of history.
41. Padding Jolie
It's no secret that Lara Croft's chest are quite ample. In fact, they were originally DDs, but in the 2001 movie, the character had mere D-size chest. Angelina Jolie, however, was a 36-C and needed to put padding in her bra to resemble the character. This upset the actress because she felt that the press and the fans were paying more attention to her appearance than her acting.
42. Croft Was a Dude
When Tomb Raider was still just a game, designer Toby Gard envisioned a man for the character of Lara Croft, but he later realized that people might start confusing him with Indiana Jones, so Gard redesigned the character as a woman.