My first introduction to Alicia Vikander, behind the lens of Hollywood and her self imposed curtain of secrecy, came at rather raucous dinner at the end of last year. The Oscar winning actress hosted a crayfish dinner for underwear brand, CDLP.
It was not just typically Swedish with shots a-plenty between courses and fish bits galore but also very typically Alicia, “oh you know how good I am at drinking and singing then,” she remarks with a devilish smirk across rippling across her angelic features. With that one look I was immediately transported back to ‘centre of the party Alicia’ - not exactly what the mass media portrays Vikander to be beyond her Louis Vuitton clad cocoon.
But that is all set to change as the 29 year-old year old takes on blockbuster stardom and the world’s interest in Alicia is set to rocket. With one ass-kicking move at a time, Alicia’s Lara Croft in Tomb Raider – the computer game that made teenage boys sweaty at the palm and finally gave teenage girls an action figure to idolize – is a new breed of heroine who will garner many feminist fist pumps.
Alicia picks up tomb raiding from none other than Angelina Jolie, who she would put money on beating her in a fight because, “I would be speechless, so put all money on Angie!” Alicia’s Lara Croft is much more action than tits however, with the short shorts replaced by somewhat practical cargo trousers. Plus let’s just say the action sequences, whilst featuring intense slow mo, is much more realistic, “Lara feels the pain and that’s what makes it traumatic and enables her to pull this warrior out of her.” This is a post Wonder Woman world after all.
Pre filming training was just as real for Alicia too, “I was so lucky to meet some amazing women who were trained in MMA boxing. I learnt to do some really cool grips too because everything we ended up doing in this film we wanted to be based in a realistic world.” Being a real life badass can come with consequences however, “I was training with this huge guy and he helped me get into the move but then I started to apply some pressure. He started tapping and I had no idea what he was doing. The other guy was like we can’t breathe!’”
The filming process barely left Alicia with life left in her too, “at one point we were filming continuously in the river. I spent too many days in water, went blue and almost died!” The price one has pay for their art it seems.
Despite being a very 2018 role model, due to Alicia gaining 12 pounds of muscle and boasting an actual eight pack in prying paparazzi shots from last summer, much of the film’s attention will be directed at her body. “I have been asked about my body in every single interview, but even I am now looking at the posters thinking, ‘I need to go back to the gym!’ Sadly it goes away a lot easier than it is to get it.” It comes to something when even someone as accomplished as Alicia is comparing herself to a past version of oneself.
The act of comparing bodies is something Alicia is only too aware of; “a lot of people want to ask about her body and to compare it with others - first of all, that is the worst thing. We all body shame and compare bodies and that needs to go out of the window. I can say the one good thing is for every year where I grow up I am kinder to myself and I would say to the younger version of me, ‘I love my body and I have learnt to stop looking in the mirror at the things I want to change.’ It’s a well functioning great strong body. That is the thing I want to tell girls, to stop criticising yourselves and to stop comparing yourself to other people.”
With Alicia firming aligning herself with the Time’s Up movement (Reese Witherspoon called her personally to ask for her involvement at the Golden Globes) there seems no better person to take on the role of Lara Croft. Lest we forget this is an iconic figure largely viewed through the male gaze and Alicia's ownership of Lara the iconic is refreshing AF.
Rest assured however, if you want to get that banging bod for yourself even a lazy gal in a chair can apparently reach Alicia’s dazzling abs heights, “the good thing is just using your own body weight, like holding on to things and lifting your legs up are the most effective work out moves. Its always when my trainer did those simple things where I thought, ‘that looks easy,’ that I found them the hardest. Then two minutes after I would be crying.” Get a hanky ready then, ladies.
Shattering illusions further, and taking Alicia’s word as girl gospel, you can eat carbs too! “The most annoying question I get asked is, ‘no carbs right?’ It’s not true! People need to know it’s all about eating all the range of foods. I am back on my wine and sweets now, there wasn’t much of that during training.” No need to step away from those chicken nuggets just yet, then.
Sideling Vikander’s physical prowess, what makes Alicia such a powerful Lara Croft? She loves a solving a jolly good problem, “I love cross words! Actually when I was growing up me and my girlfriends would collect them and see who finished them first!” You were living as a teenager then? “We had a bottle of wine and crosswords it was great!” To say Vikander is living her best life is an understatement.
Her media curated reputation for being private largely comes from her desire to not talk about her husband, Michael Fassbender – but why should Alicia talk about her relationship? She’s an Oscar Winning actress in her own right, defined by her own career and not her personal life. Besides it’s refreshing that in our social media age when we even know that someone we haven’t spoken to in ten years has had a baby, its great to have an actress with an old school Hollywood mystique to her.
However it didn’t stop her revealing to me that she uses the “non blinking game” to gain control at home - see the video above for the intense stare in full motion. Just like Lara Croft herself Alicia has the world in the palm of her hand with just one glance.
Tomb Raider is in cinemas on 16th March