Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander may get most of the attention by playing Lara on the big screen, but Lara is still most popular in her original videogame form, with the voice actresses of the game often being unsung heroes. Camilla Luddington and Keeley Hawes have voiced the iconic woman most recently to varying degrees of success. I would argue Keeley Hawes embodied Croft incredibly well but was let down with poor scripts and silly storylines. Luddington fared a bit better with much tighter script writing and a lot more character development, but was let down with the character going down an overly glum route, which removed all of Croft’s humour and wit for something more depressing dressed as realism. With the survivor trilogy now over it may be time for a new voice actress to take over the mantle, maybe a return to the 90’s Lara or combination of old and new.
I’m looking at women that can take on the role in a similar way to Camilla, doing motion capture as well as vocal work, I’m looking at plausibility too. As much as I’d love Angelina Jolie to come back and voice Lara, that’s pretty unlikely – so I’m trying to feature actresses that actually could and would feasibly take on the role in a videogame. I’m keeping the actresses British, as even as a native Brit, Camilla could often sound a bit Americanised, so imagine an actual American taking on the role.
5. ELIZABETH HURLEY
The one thing I’d really like to see done with Lara which has never really been done before, is showing the character at a different point in her life. The recent reboot games have given us a 21 year old Lara in the first game leading to a woman in her mid-20’s by the third game. The original games never really gave Lara a definitive age but I don’t believe they ever went further than her mid 30’s. Unlike Uncharted which gave us a Nathan Drake no longer in his prime, Lara has remained youthful – despite Croft being around for almost 25 years.
As of writing Elizabeth Hurley is 55 years old and she looks absolutely amazing! Of course as a voice actor Hurley wouldn’t need to play the character as the same age as herself, but I’d genuinely like to see a 55 year old Lara Croft, what would she be like, how would she act, would an older Lara still be obsessed with archaeology?
Hurley would be perfect in the role, she has the suitably posh voice, great sense of humour and natural sex appeal that the 90’s Lara would undoubtedly still have. Hurley hasn’t acted in anything particularly high profile in a fair few years and I would rank her bottom of this list based on the likelihood of game developers attempting to portray an older woman – but I do believe Lara Croft would be a decent fit for her.
4. KATE BECKINSALE
There was a time when Beckinsale could have easily taken Angelina Jolie’s spot in the live action films and in the 2000’s she was one of the biggest stars on the silver screen, fronting the popular Underworld series plus starring roles in action films Total Recall and Van Helsing.
Beckinsale might be a little too famous to front a videogame, with her still being a big name, however in recent years Kate’s roles have been a bit more spread out, meaning she could conceivably have the time to take on the demands of a major videogame role. She’s also not opposed to voicing videogame characters lending her talents to Elder Scrolls Online in 2014.
Beckinsale ranks highly with me due to her immediate charm and effortless sex appeal, she has the perfect accent in her natural speaking voice and her playful exchanges on the Graham Norton Show shows display her comedic chops that could be utilised to play a perfect Lara in the vein of the original games. Her recent performance in The Widow prove she has the dramatic range to sell a multi-layered character that the more recent games portray, she would be an incredible get for the series, but I believe a bit far fetched.
3. NATALIE DORMER
38 year old Natalie Dormer broke out into mainstream consciousness in 2007 playing Anne Boleyn in The Tutors, a role she won critical acclaim for. But her most recognised role will be that of the manipulative and brilliant Margarery Tyrell in the mega hit Game of Thrones.
Within the film industry Dormer will happily take on smaller roles, with her even writing and starring in the film The Darkness in 2018, which shows a true dedication to her approach to taking on her characters. Dormer has even taken on a major role in a videogame, voicing a character in the often maligned Mass Effect Andromeda.
Dormer has everything she needs for Lara Croft, she’s British, she’s a superb actress that takes on every role with the upmost respect and passion.
2. DAISY RIDLEY
Daisy Ridley was very nearly Croft in the most recent film, her commitment to the Star Wars franchise most likely was detrimental to her getting the role, she’s an adept actress and at 28 years old she is at the perfect age to take over from Camilla Luddington, if the next game was a straight sequel to Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Ridley certainly has the intensity and physicality to play Lara, her roles in films so far have been reasonably narrow, with Star Wars and Murder on the Orient Express being her only major roles. But playing Rey has shown her capability in playing someone whose emotionally complex as well as the physical demands of an action orientated character.
Ridley has been featuring in videogames for the last few years as well. Next year she will lend her voice along with James McAvoy and Willem Dafoe in the independent game 12 minutes as well as reprising the role of Rey in the EA Star wars games.
1. MICHELLE DOCKERY
My number 1 pick for the next Lara Croft voice actress is Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery. Michelle is a great actress with fantastic range and lets face it she’d be right at home in a grand manor. Dockery has the perfect accent, the dramatic chops, the biting wit and cheeky banter to make the perfect Lara Croft. One that can walk the line between Croft of old and new.
Michelle still works regularly in both TV and film and though her role as Elizabeth Crawley is well known to many people, taking on an iconic role like Lara Croft could be really cement her as a British icon.
Dockery is yet to star in a videogame, with her natural habitat being the London stage, but her roles across stage and screen have been incredibly varied from period piece costume dramas to Guy Ritchie’s The Gentlemen, would adding an action adventure videogame to her long list of roles be worthwhile? I think so, which is why she tops my list.
Who do you think could take on the role of Lara Croft? Let me know.
ADDED BONUS – JESSIE GRAFF OR OLIVIA VIVIAN – BODY DOUBLES
Though I’d want an actress with real acting chops to take on Lara Croft in terms of voice acting and performance capture, I’d like to see Lara Croft’s physical model resemble that of a proper athlete. Lara’s parkour would require some serious upper body strength and yet Lara is a little lacking in the upper body muscle she’d truly need to achieve the feats she does in game (though she was a lot more muscular in Shadow of the Tomb Raider). So I’d love to see the Lara Croft body doubles to be modelled on real life super women, USA’s Jessie Graff or Australia’s Olivia Vivian. Though if either of them can pull off an English accent or if they have the acting chops to pull it off… then why not.