It seems Hollywood has decided it’s about time for a Tomb Raider reboot. The franchise, which spawned two movies starring Angelina Jolie based on the popular video game series, never quite reached its true potential. While the films turned Jolie into an even bigger star than she already was, they received mediocre reviews and didn’t do spectacularly at the box office either. Now Deadline reports that Warner Bros. has hired a writer to pen the script for a reboot focusing on a younger version of the adventurous archaeologist Lara Croft. So we know Jolie won’t be back, but who would be a good fit for playing a young Lara Croft?
The character is famously a bodacious brunette babe whose hobbies include various extreme sports and generally doing whatever death-defying activity that’s available at the moment. The character is British, but that obviously doesn’t necessarily mean a Brit will be tapped to play her. Whoever it is will need enough star power to draw in the audience, the ability to carry a badass action role convincingly, and enough of a physical similarity to the video game character to keep the fanboys happy.
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider came out in 2001 and grossed $274 million worldwide on a budget of $115 million, according to Box Office Mojo. The film turned Jolie from a sexy dark weirdo into a sexy dark action star and she certainly deserves credit for performing a lot of her own stunt work, something that she would continue to do with other action roles later on. While that movie made a profit, when compared to the first Hunger Games movie it’s clear that the female-led action franchise with a ready-made fanbase didn’t quite reach its potential. The Hunger Games grossed $691 million worldwide on a budget of $78 million. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life was practically a flop, grossing $156 million worldwide on a budget of $95 million.
Still the potential is there. Audiences seem to love female-led action franchises and Lara Croft is already recognizable. Warner Bros. has hired Evan Daugherty to write the reboot. Daugherty’s credits include Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Divergent, Snow White and the Huntsman, and G.I. Joe 3. Not exactly Oscar material here, but that’s not necessary for the studio to get its money’s worth. Deadline said that the reboot is “on a fast track” and will follow the young Croft going on her first adventure.
Now the question is which young actress will be chosen to replace Angelina Jolie in the role. Divergent’s Shailene Woodley might seek to build a niche in the female empowerment action genre. Chloe Grace Moretz definitely has the looks for the part and proved her action chops in 2010’s Kick Ass, but she’s been sticking to indie fare as of late and might not be interested in toplining a studio blockbuster. Megan Fox is an actress that certainly physically resembles the part, but would only be able to carry the movie if the script is just blatantly bad. Since Daugherty wrote Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which Fox also starred in, this Croft reboot could well be a Michael Bay-esque mindless action film.
Should the scribe go the opposite route and put together a well-crafted script, the flick might draw an actress that typically takes more serious roles. Felicity Jones is a new face that comes to mind as someone who could be interested in the part if the script isn’t terrible. The curvy brunette is coming off an Oscar nomination and is rumored to be starring in the upcoming Star Wars standalone movie directed by Gareth Edwards, so she’s clearly interested in taking on more mainstream genre material. True Grit’s Hailee Steinfeld and Godzilla’s Elizabeth Olsen are two other names that come to mind as possible candidates if Daugherty writes something that’s more Divergent and less Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Whoever takes on the part will obviously have some big shoes to fill, as Jolie is an incredibly charismatic actress regardless of whether the original Tomb Raider movies were very well-received. Given that the reboot is being groomed to be a big blockbuster, whoever the actress ends up being stands to profit from the pressure.
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