We caught up with Camilla Luddington, the new face, voice and mind of Lara Croft, at Square Enix's Comic-Con headquarters a few blocks from the San Diego Convention Center over the weekend. She's been working tirelessly with Tomb Raider developer Crystal Dynamics to breathe new life into one of the sexiest characters in video game history—and we think she's done a bang-up job. Check out our interview and tell us what you think of Camilla in the comments or on Twitter.
So how do you like playing Lara Croft?
I think it's given me street cred in my family. I have brothers who are extremely excited and—but what is it like playing her? She's amazing! She is iconic, she's sexy, she's courageous, she's all those wonderful things and I think it was an honor to be cast as her.
Are you a Tomb Raider fan?
My older brother had the game—the first Tomb Raider game—so when I got a chance to steal controls off him, I would play the game (probably terribly, I can't remember all that well how I did). But that was my first experience with Tomb Raider. And then she's so iconic that I feel like everyone knows her. Who hasn't seen the movies? And then of course being involved now I've lived with her basically for two and a half years working on the game.
Have you played it?
I have yet to play it, only because I'm still in the process of doing the performance capture, and I've decided that once it's done (which'll probably be around next week) I will go play it. Having said that, though, it is being played down there right now, and I am just so tempted to run down and play. So it may happen in the next hour. We'll see.
What exactly has your role been?
What's great is I'm the first actress to do the audio and the performance capture. Usually you just head into an ADR booth and match the performance to the audio. This was I'm really experiencing it. I really do get beaten up. I would come home with bruises. It was an intense experience because the game is very dark, but it was fantastic. It was emotionally and physically draining, but I loved it. I loved every moment of it.
There's been a lot of talk about some of those emotionally charged scenes. What was it like to act those out?
Yeah, every scene that you've seen so far—there hasn't been an element to really any scene that I've filmed that hasn't been "light." It's emotionally driven. It's high-intensity constantly. And that's what you need to drive the story. She starts Tomb Raider as a young, naive 21-year-old, and I think in order for her to become this heroic character, she has to be pushed. She has to be put in these circumstances that are nightmarish. And that's what pushes her to grow, be courageous, stand up against all odds, and find it within herself to become the Lara Croft we all know and love. So that's what you're seeing. Those are the scenes that you're seeing.
Speaking of the Lara Croft that we all know and love—she's going to progress a bit differently than in past iterations. What stands out to you in this version of her?
This version of Lara—she's more human. She's more relatable. When you feel her get hurt, you feel when she cries, you're going on that experience with her. Before, you know, she was shooting guns. She was, of course, a heroine, but there really wasn't that side to her where you really felt for her, where she was struggling. And so there are all these new elements to her personality that you're getting to know and you're getting familiar with, and you're really going on that journey with her. So I think the real difference is that she's a human being this time around instead of just being almost a slightly one-dimensional badass. She's a girl. She's a young girl.
How do you embody that?
Well, um, I'm a girl. I am young [laughing].