Taking a cue from the recent video games, bad dad Richard Croft is finally getting the film treatment he deserves.
Dominic West, best known for his turn as Detective James “Jimmy” McNulty in HBO’s The Wire, has been cast as Lara Croft’s father in the upcoming live-action Tomb Raider reboot.
West joins Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), who will star as the titular archaeologist-adventurer, with the phenomenally named Norwegian filmmaker Roar Uthaug (The Wave) on board to direct. Daniel Wu (Into the Badlands) is set to play “a ship captain who partners with [Lara],” while Walton Goggins (Justified, Django Unchained), who’s “ready to get lost in a goddamn tomb,” will play the villainous Father Mathias Vogel.
Croft’s father, Lord Richard Croft, is central to the Raider mythos insofar as his own history as an adventure-archeologist tends to motivate Lara to take up the family business. This, in spite of the fact that historically Richard’s profession tends to get him killed/disappeared. In the video game titles Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld (because lest we forget Tomb Raider is first and foremost a video game) Richard becomes consumed with the disappearance of his wife, eventually going missing while trying to locate her through tomb-raidering. The recent video game reboot goes one step further, portraying him as a neglectful dad who bribed Lara with gifts to make up for his absentee parenting in lieu of trying to resurrect his dead wife. A discredited Richard seemingly commits suicide (he’s actually murdered by a secret organization because this is Tomb Raider and secret organizations are literally everywhere). Lara takes up the raiding of tombs after witnessing an immortal soul, and pledges to see her estranged and very dead dad’s research through.
The reboot will honour the tradition of Richard Croft being an arguably ineffective tomb raider, with Lara set to “finish her father’s research and uncover ancient secrets in order to clear his disgraced name.” Classic Lara, cleaning up after her dad’s shitty tomb raiding. If that sounds like re-treading of the recent video game ‐ surprise, it is! According to producer Graham King, the 2018 reboot will be more character-driven than the previous two films.
This is kind of what we call a ‘back to the roots story’. This is a young Lara Croft in search to see if her father is dead or alive, so it has a very emotional part to it and I think that’s what Alicia found so interesting about it.
The aforementioned film iterations starring Angelina Jolie saw her real-life dad Jon Voight as Richard Croft, who featured as a high ranking illuminati member killed while trying to outsmart the illuminati. What was lacking in Voight’s Richard was the destructively obsessive bent featured in the games, particularly 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider; a blinding compulsion that grounds and humanizes the poor decision making. That Uthaug has chosen to go this route for the upcoming reboot is reassuring, and shows an attention to the way the franchise has evolved since the Jolie films.
While plenty of titles in the franchise have dealt with Lara cleaning up after her dad’s assorted archeological messes, none have had her actively seek him out; his death and/or absence has typically informed rather than defined Lara’s raiding. With Resident Evil gone, we’re in need of a familiar lady-helmed action franchise and it’d be a shame if the Tomb Raider reboot overvalued its focus on Lara’s dad, rather than Lara herself. I’m keen to see if the filmmakers can increase Richard’s presence without detracting from Lara herself.
Tomb Raider is currently in production, and is slated to hit theaters in March of next year.