Tombraider: Underworld

<em>Time Out</em> meets Lara Croft on tour.

Interview, Time In
Interview, Time In

So you’re the new Lara Croft. I’m guessing you don’t get a job like that in the back of a newspaper.
My agent put me up for the job about a year ago – I’m an actress, but I’m the only one on the books who’s a gymnast as well. [Tomb Raider developer] Eidos was looking for a more physical person to take on the role this time, so I performed all my gymnastic stunts. I did all my rolls and backflips, and all kinds of things that Lara can do in the game.

So what does your job involve?
I go along to lots of different events as Lara, and we do PR stunts and live performances as well. I do my own little Lara Croft routine where I do combat and gymnastics skills. But I also do crazy things – last week in Germany I was rock climbing and canoeing, and I got to drive a Maserati around a racetrack.

Sounds like a busy life.
Lara Croft is quite a strong athlete, but I already train six days a week anyway, so that wasn’t an issue. I go to gym, run or do gymnastics training, and when I get the chance I go rock climbing, scuba diving or horsesriding. So I’m a bit of an action girl anyway.

I could do that if I wanted to.
I just don’t want to. What else do you have to do? I’m also going to be doing SAS training, a course in firearms and a course in archaeology, so I will have all the skills that Lara has. I’m doing them in the next couple of weeks.

What are the SAS teaching you?
Survival techniques. And presumably if a fan tries to get a bit too ‘friendly’ you can break his arm. [Laughs] No, the fans I’ve met have been absolutely brilliant. Last week in Poland I went to a store to do signings, and about 300 fans turned up. The men were so gentlemanly and there were girls turning up dressed as Lara – we all had photos together, it’s really lovely.

Do you shoot a couple of wolves in the morning to get in character?
No and I wouldn’t! In the game Lara not only has her signature pistols, she also has tranquilisers. So if you’re a sensitive soul and don’t want to hurt the creatures, you can send them to sleep. Which is quite lovely.

You’ve obviously been very well-briefed. Will the SAS seem like a cakewalk after all the PR training?
Well, I had quite a lot of knowledge of the game before I took on the job, so I think the SAS training might be a little more gruelling.

T-Rexes pop up in the games a lot. How would you take one down?
Send him to sleep with a tranquiliser.

That’s rubbish! You’d need a dart the size of an Exocet missile!
[Laughs] Well, I will always have them in my trusty backpack!

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