Lara Croft

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For the Playboy Playmate, see Laura Croft.

Lara Croft

Lara Croft
Voiced by: Multiple actresses (when animated)
Played by: Angelina Jolie (in live-action feature films)
Year of birth: 1968
Birth location: Wimbledon, England
Measurements: 40-20-35 in (See details)
Body type: Athletic
Eye color: Brown
Hair color: Brunette
Hair shape: Ponytail
Blood group: AB-
Ethnicity: Caucasian
Nationality: British
Topless: No

Official website

IMDb entry

Nadine Jansen in Lara Croft Cosplayer

Lara Croft is the protagonist of Eidos Interactive Tomb Raider series series. Designed by Toby Gard, the heroine of the video game series has also been featured in movies, comic books, novels, and a series of animated shorts. In the two movies, she is portrayed by Angelina Jolie. In 2006, Lara was honored with a star on the Walk of Game,[1] and was awarded a Guinness World Record recognizing her as the "most successful human video game heroine."[2]

Lara is generally presented as an intelligent, athletic, and somewhat reckless English woman of noble birth who travels the world in pursuit of priceless artifacts. Known as both an archaeologist and an adventurer, she frequently ventures into ancient, and often very dangerous, tombs and ruins. In addition to traps and puzzles, Lara encounters a variety of enemies including rivals, gangsters, dangerous animals (including dinosaurs), legendary creatures, and supernatural beings. The fantastic nature of her archaeology related adventures have drawn comparisons to Indiana Jones.

Measurements[edit]

In her first appearance as Lara Croft, Angelina Jolie was often asked about Lara Croft's measurements (compared to her own). In one interview she gave even further details:

"This has been the big question. I’m a 36C. In the film, I’m a 36D. In the game, she’s a double-D 40 with a 20-inch waist and 35-inch hips or something. I have a regular waist, regular hips, kind of like a boy. So we basically gave her a proper padded bra. But it wasn’t so far off, since I had to do the physical things. I’m fine with my breasts and I don’t think it’s something little girls look at and think “I should be that and get a breast implant.” It’s a part of her character, so you do it. But I want every young girl to know that is not completely me." [3]

Character creation[edit]

Initially, designer Toby Gard focused on creating the settings for Tomb Raider and the main character was essentially an Indiana Jones clone. When this character was deemed unacceptable, Gard placed his attention on designing a new one. One factor that influenced Gard to use a female character was that he noticed many of his male co-workers preferred using female characters in Virtua Fighter. The redesigned character was initially a South American woman named Laura Cruz. She eventually evolved into an English woman named Lara Croft. Her name was picked from a phone book for sounding "UK friendly."[4]

Actor portrayal[edit]

Voice actresses (video games)[edit]

Lara has been voiced by four actresses throughout the video game series:

  • Shelley Blond in Tomb Raider
  • Judith Gibbins in Tomb Raider II and Tomb Raider III
  • Jonell Elliott in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Tomb Raider Chronicles, and Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
  • Keeley Hawes in Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Anniversary
  • Camilla Luddington in Tomb Raider (2013)

Film and animation[edit]

Lara was brought to life by actress Angelina Jolie for the movies Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003).

In the 2007 Re\Visioned: Tomb Raider Animated Series, Lara was voiced by Minnie Driver.[5]

Models[edit]

Karima Adebibe as the Legend era Lara Croft

Lara has also been portrayed by the following models for public appearances and promotions:

Nell McAndrew was immediately axed from her stint as Lara in 1999 after posing nude in an issue of Playboy. This was partly due to the fact Playboy printed a reference to Tomb Raider on the cover (which was quickly removed at Eidos's demand).

Despite some initial reservations, on 14th February 2006, it was announced that a previously unknown 20-year-old sales assistant from London, Karima Adebibe, would star as the new Lara Croft model and would shortly begin a training program to play the role. She retired in 2008.[6]

Interestingly most of the models were united (with the exception of Nathalie Cook, Rhona Mitra, Vanessa Demouy, and Ellen Rocche) by FHM in May 2007 to celebrate the release of Tomb Raider: Anniversary.

On 11 August 2008, Alison Carroll was revealed as the new promotional face of Lara Croft.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Continuity[edit]

Note that there are in fact two versions of Lara Croft's biography. The first one was active in the first six Tomb Raider games, whilst the second (and current) biography was introduced for the seventh game in the series, Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend.

Perhaps the most significant difference between the two continuities is Lara's relationship with her parents. In the old continuity, Lara has a fairly negative relationship with her parents even to the point where her lifestyle choices result in her being disowned by them. In the new continuity, Lara has a much more positive relationship with her parents and her father seems to be the one who has had the largest influence on her lifestyle.

Another significant change is Lara's personality. In the first continuity, she is shown as dark, mysterious, enigmatic, and rather sardonic. In Legend - due in part to her higher level of interaction with people - she is shown as a more humorous, wisecracking, respectful sort who is somewhat more open emotionally.[7]

Original biography (pre-Legend)[edit]

Lara Croft was born on February 14, 1968, in Wimbledon, London.[8][9] The daughter of Lord Henshingly Croft, Lara was brought up in the secure world of aristocracy, surrounded by luxury and wealth. From the ages of 3 to 11 she received private tutoring at home, later moving on to Wimbledon Private School in London.[8]

At the age of 16, Lara then moved on to the renowned school of Gordonstoun in Scotland,[8] where she developed a love of rock climbing, often escaping into the hills during netball practice.[10] One day at Gordonstoun, Lara came across a familiar name; renowned archaeologist Werner Von Croy on the cover of National Geographic on the hall table, who had previously lectured Lara at Wimbledon.[8] sparking an interest in archaeology. Upon hearing of a Cambodian expedition to Angkor Wat, Lara insisted that her parents allow her to accompany Von Croy.[8] Lara's father, agreeing it would be beneficial to her educationally, contacted Von Croy and arranged for Lara to join the expedition.[8] The expedition left Lara passionate about archaeology and became an inspiration for her future pursuits. The expedition ended in disaster, when Von Croy's carelessness and arrogance triggered a trap resulting in him being sealed inside a tomb. Lara was forced to leave him in order to avoid the same fate. Von Croy survived, but the incident caused a grudge between them that lasts for years.

By the time Lara was 21, she had graduated from her finishing school in Switzerland.[8] Lara's parents then soon decided she would be betrothed to the Earl of Farringdon, assuring she would be married into aristocracy. During her time in Switzerland, Lara had taken an interest in extreme skiing[10] and spent a holiday in the Himalayas to pursue this.[10] On the return trip, her chartered plane crashed deep within the heart of the mountain range. Lara was the sole survivor.[8]

Lara spent two weeks wandering alone through the Himalayas before walking into the remote Tibetan village of Tokakeriby.[8] Her harrowing experience has a profound effect on her. No longer able to tolerate the atmosphere of upper-class British society, she placed a new value on being able to travel alone. In the following years, she would travel across the globe in search of artifacts and adventure, gaining a considerable knowledge of ancient civilizations and archaeology.[8]

Due to Lara's refusal to marry the Earl of Farrington, her parents disowned her. Because of this, Lara began writing books about her adventures to help finance her trips.[8]

Some time ago, Lara inherited a mansion in Surrey, England from a relative. She uses this location for storing artifacts, training, and as her residence when not traveling.[10]

Current biography (Tomb Raider: Legend and Anniversary)[edit]

In 1547, Edward VI of England granted the title and rights of Abbingdon, Surrey to the Croft family. Lara Croft is the 11th Countess of the Croft Estates, which include three separate manor houses. One of these houses is occupied by Lara, while the other two are maintained as historic sites by the National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty. Lara Croft was born in Surrey to Lord Richard Croft and Amelia Croft and attended the Abbingdon Girls' School from three to six years old where she excelled.

Lara lost both her parents while she was young. When she was nine, a plane that she and her mother were on crashed in the Himalayas, where her mother disappeared. She hiked for ten days to Kathmandu before turning in to the local bar where she was able to telephone her father. For the next six years, she traveled around with her father, participating in his archaeological digs and receiving education from tutors. When she was fifteen, her father was lost in Cambodia. Without a body to prove he was dead, Lara was forced into a legal battle to inherit the estate and the title of countess. She won, but at the cost of estrangement from the rest of the Croft family.

While turning up some very important artifacts, Lara is not an archaeologist in the classical sense. Some have described her as nothing more than a grave robber, stealing artifacts and contaminating dig sites with her unorthodox methods.

Croft is a very private person. She does not do interviews or comment on public perception of her. Instead, she issues statements through family solicitors Hardgraves and Moore.[11][12]

Discovered artifacts[edit]

In order of appearance throughout the series[edit]

  • Atlantean Scion (Tomb Raider and Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary)
  • Dagger of Xian (Tomb Raider II)
  • The Golden Mask (Tomb Raider: The Golden Mask)
  • Meteorite Artifacts: The Infada Stone, Eye of Isis, Element 115, Ora Dagger, The Hand of Rathmoore (Tomb Raider III, Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artifact)
  • Amulet and Armor of Horus (Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation)
  • Philosopher's Stone, Spear of Destiny, "The Iris" (Tomb Raider: Chronicles])
  • Periapt Shards and Obscura Paintings (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness)
  • Excalibur (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend)
  • Mjölnir/Thor's Hammer, Megingjörð/Thor's Belt, Járnglófi/Thor's Gauntlets (Tomb Raider Underworld)

Artifacts discovered in media other than the games include:

  • Pandora's Box (Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life)

Weapons and equipment[edit]

Lara has used a variety of firearms including dual Browning Hi-Power 9 mm pistols (Tomb Raider 1-2), .357 Desert Eagles (The Last Revelation), .45 Heckler & Koch USPs (Match Variant) (Legend), and Colt M1911 .45 ACPs (Anniversary).

Also, in Legend, Lara briefly wields Excalibur in battle.

Controversy[edit]

Some fans, as well as Lara's original designer Toby Gard, considered Croft's growing status as a sex symbol in the video game fandom through each progressive game sequel—with increasingly gratuitous artwork and advertisements—detrimental to the character,[13][14] who gained more attention from her appearance than her tough-as-nails spirit and determination.I just wish that when she was taken out of my hands they hadn't made her boobs so big.[15]}} In response to this, it was stated that she would undergo a redesign and become more "demure" in Tomb Raider: Legend for the sake of becoming more appealing to female gamers.[16] However, some of the outfits she wore in this game were far more revealing than anything seen in previous games (such as the low-cut, torn black dress from the Japan levels) and some have still derided her form as being unrealistic (especially in regard to her Body Mass Index). It should be noted that Lara is designed in a stylised manner that is supposed to represent an exaggeratedly feminine form, and is not intended to be a totally realistic character.

Some fans have been critical of the video games for portraying her in an increasingly bloodthirsty manner, and occasionally not giving players the option to avoid lethal force against human characters. Tomb Raider III was heavily criticized by some for showing Lara committing acts of murder against security guards, police officers and tribesmen.[17]

Also controversial (in early games of the series) is Lara's killing of wildlife such as tigers and other animals. In response to this, the makers of the 2006 "re-launch" game, Legend have toned down her bloodthirstiness.[7] While Lara still confronts wildlife (limited to 8 big cats and 4 dogs in the game), it is made clear that she only kills in self defense and feels remorse whenever she has to do so, as indicated in the following exchange from the first level:

Alister: Why predators attack prey larger than themselves is a mystery.
Lara: And a pity.

Later in the level she states this when she kills another jaguar:

Lara: Someone picked an unfortunate place to hunt

In popular culture[edit]

Petra Verkaik in Lara Croft Cosplay

Lara Croft is considered by critics and fans alike as one of the most significant game characters in popular culture,[18] and the most famous female video-game character, as listed by The Guinness Book of World Records.[19]

Lara appeared in many "Lucozade" advertisements during the late 90's, [20][21] and was the cover girl for popular style magazine The Face in 1997.[18] In addition, writer Douglas Coupland dedicated a book to her, analysing the effect of her on pop culture.[22]

Lara made a guest appearance during U2's PopMart Tour[23] and appeared in a music video by the German punk band Die Ärzte.[24] She has also been featured in SEAT car commercials,[25] and three G4 commercials.[26] In all of these appearances, Lara was represented by computer animation. Lara also appeared in a Visa commercial which featured a live-action Lara, portrayed by Sofia Vergara, interacting with her in-game counterpart.[27]

Lara is the subject of a song, "Amami Lara" (Love me Lara) by the Italian songwriter Eugenio Finardi. The song was presented during the 1999 edition of the Festival della canzone italiana in Sanremo.[28][29]

One of Petra Verkaik's best known pictorials depicts her transforming from an animated Lara Croft to a topless photographic facsimile. There is a lesser known, softcore short movie that Petra did for Playboy TV in the early 90's, called Coldwar. It is one of the few instances where she has physical contact with a male actor.

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. 2006 Walk of Game Inductees. Retrieved on 2007-08-29.
  2. Guy Cocker (2006-04-07). Lara Croft earns Guinness World Record. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2007-08-30.
  3. Angelina in Action (2001-06-02). Retrieved on 2007-10-25.
  4. Tomb Raider Gametap Collection
  5. Minnie Driver to voice Lara Croft in Re\Visioned
  6. Meet the new Lara Croft - People - Entertainment - smh.com.au
  7. 7.0 7.1 Lara Croft Trades Bust For Brains, Regrets Killing Animals In 'Legend'. mtv.com, 2006-03-03. Retrieved on 2007-07-09.
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 Evolution of Lara Croft - Old Lara Croft Biography. Retrieved on 2007-07-18.
  9. Lara Croft TV - Biography of Lara Croft (Old Edition). Retrieved on 2007-05-02.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 Game Character information about Lara Croft on Answers.com. Gaming Personality Biographies Copyright © 2006 by All Media Guide. Published by All Media Guide.
  11. Tomb Raider Legend - Lara Croft Biography
  12. Lara Croft TV - Biography of Lara Croft. Retrieved on 2007-08-18.
  13. The extraordinary life of Lara Croft. film.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved on 2007-07-09.
  14. Robin Yang. The Man Behind Lara. Gamedaily. Retrieved on 2007-07-09.
  15. Closer Look: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend. www.allxbox.com, allXbox.com Staff, Publisher Mike Leonard. Retrieved on 2007-07-09.
  16. Lara's curves reduced to appeal to female gamers. www.smh.com, 2005-05-21. Retrieved on 2007-07-09.
  17. Tomb Raiders Traveler's Guide: Editorial
  18. 18.0 18.1 Game Studies - Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo? On the Limits of Textual Analysis
  19. Lara Croft – Record Breaker // GamesIndustry.biz
  20. Extinct Beverage: Lucozade
  21. Animal Logic: Digitising Lara Croft. Tomb Raider Chronicles. Retrieved on 2007-10-03. - articles for 4 Lucozade commercials
  22. Douglas Coupland: Lara’s Book Lara Croft And The Tomb Raider Phenomenon
  23. Lara With U2. The Croft Times (1997-09-21). Retrieved on 2007-10-03.
  24. http://www.tombraideranniversary.com/virtual_01.asp
  25. Lara Croft TV - Show Reel. Lara Croft TV. Retrieved on 2007-10-03. - SEAT commercials are towards the bottom of the list
  26. Lara Croft TV - G4 Network. Lara Croft TV. Retrieved on 2007-10-03.
  27. Animal Logic: Digitising Lara Croft - Visa 'Monster Chase'. Tomb Raider Chronicles. Retrieved on 2007-10-03.
  28. Lara at the Sanremo Festival. The Croft Times (1999-02-21). Retrieved on 2007-10-02.
  29. Festival di Sanremo 1999



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