Striplv Magazine - The Sexiest Magazine on the Planet, Issue 0318

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ALICIA VIKANDER - MOMENTUM By Brittany Santos When Alicia Vikander began her journey to gaining four kilos of pure muscle and becoming Lara Croft, good pal, and fellow Swede, Alexander Skarsgard was her ‘gymspiration.’ “I told my trainer I wanted to look like Alexander in Tarzan,” she giggles cheerfully. “He was my end goal.” The pap shots of Vikander, alongside new husband Michael Fassbender, on a boat in Ibiza reveal her abs of steel, clearly showing the Oscar winner achieved her end goal. But will that be enough to please loyal fans of the Tomb Raider universe, many resolutely loyal to Angelina Jolie’s previous efforts as the video game vixen? Vikander appears optimistic, and breathtakingly stunning as always. With a dark purple shirt hiding the fruits of her gym effort - although she claims it’s more or less gone - the actress is understated, yet glamorous. Her light chocolate locks hang loosely past her shoulders while her dewy olive complexion and dark oval eyes cut a dazzling effect. She’s warm and chatty, but a glacial underlay is always present. And ever consistent, she remains steadfastly rooted in her desire to keep married life and all its details firmly under wraps. When it comes to Lara however, Vikander is entirely forthcoming, especially regarding her nerves for the upcoming big bucks epic which could make, or break, her fledgling superstar career. But the 29-year-old is keen to distance her version from the Jolie vehicle, claiming her origin story is an entirely untapped chapter in Croft’s life and will set the new movie on a different plane from its predecessors. In a fun chat, Vikander talks about her reluctance to sign on and why Jolie is an inspiration. She also chats working out, Wonder Woman, plans to direct, feminism, her Oscar and social media. STRIPLV: Your career keeps gathering momentum with the Oscar for The Danish Girl, your Bourne film, and Light Between the Oceans. Now you’re starring in Tomb Raider. Playing Lara Croft, she’s one of the first feminist icons in video games and then Hollywood movies, to have an action franchise revolve around this bad ass; I assume a large part of the appeal for you? VIKANDER: Yes, absolutely. I played the games with friends of my parents’ children, on their PlayStation and then grew up watching Angelina in the movies. You know, we know that video games are a very male-dominated world to have a female protagonist in this way was so intriguing to me. STRIPLV: Is it important to you to play strong-minded and determined women? VIKANDER: If possible, yes. I feel drawn to characters who have a lot of willpower and spirit, and I like to be able to go on a journey with them. The most important thing is to find a good project and make a film that you will enjoy being part of and create something that the audience will enjoy. STRIPLV: Taking this on, were you concerned or are you still concerned by the comparisons with Angelina? VIKANDER: I could never compete with what Angelina did. She’s perfect! She made her into an icon because she is an icon. But this is our different interpretation; we’re focused on the reboot of the game, which came out a few years ago. It’s the origin story; we’re not trying to copy or reinvent what she did. STRIPLV: Explain how that works here? VIKANDER: Based on [the] reboot game which came out four years ago, it’s an examination of how she becomes who she was to become, how she morphs into the Tomb Raider, so we see Lara at a very different part of her life. At this moment, she’s trying to understand who she is and what path to take and you get to learn how and why she goes on to become this icon. She’s the action hero, or she will become this action hero, but also a very relatable young girl who’s ordinary in so many ways. She’s living in East London at the beginning, living her life and just trying to find her place on her way to her destiny. She still has the same fire and drive and spirit but without all the experience under her belt. (Laughs) STRIPLV: Surely you were hesitant? VIKANDER: You know, I was skeptical when they first spoke to me about it because why would you want to tinker with something already done. It’s done. Even when I told my mum about the movie, she immediately said, “Oh that’s the Angelina Jolie movie, yeah she was great.” STRIPLV: What changed your mind? VIKANDER: I met Roar and the producers and got a very concrete sense of what they were after and what they planned to do based on the new game which I had never played before; I had only played the older version. And getting to play the newer game, I realized there was this untold story to tell which separates it from the previous movies and that spoke to me. And that was it really. STRIPLV: Do you like the idea of playing a very physical role in a big action film like this? VIKANDER: Yes. I’ve always been such a big fan of these kinds of action and adventure movies, and I had been a big fan of the video game of Lara Croft, too. When I was a teenager, I would always watch the Indiana Jones movies and then, of course, it was such a thrill to be playing in the Jason Bourne film even though my character didn’t get to do action scenes herself. So playing Lara Croft is something I would never have dreamed of doing. But that’s how incredible and unpredictable this business can be. STRIPLV: Did you meet with Angelina? VIKANDER: I haven’t, but I’m an admirer of her and her career. I’m inspired what she has achieved, and if I could do half of what she’s done, I would be so happy. Her path, she did a lot of varied, really complex character studies in these fantastic independents and moved on to these big blockbusters and is now making her own movies, producing and directing. She’s an inspiration to me and so many working in this industry. STRIPLV: You’ve just produced Euphoria. Are you planning on directing? VIKANDER: I don’t know. I like the idea of it, but the reality is entirely different, and it really would have to be the right story that I felt passionately connected to. STRIPLV: What obstacles did you encounter while producing? VIKANDER: Producing Euphoria was such a daunting challenge, but I was surprised how natural and quickly it came to me. I felt very comfortable in that role and I also liked being involved from the ground floor up. Sometimes as an actor, you can come onto a movie a week before they start shooting and you’re very detached and removed from the inception. Whereas here, I was there from the beginning, witness to this birth of a wonderful project. The entire journey was an education. Each task as a producer was a first for me, and there were the inevitable bumps along the way, it’s a learning curve that you appreciate and assimilate. STRIPLV: Did you ever dream that one day, you’d be headlining a huge action blockbuster like this? VIKANDER: I love going to the movies, it’s one of my passions, actually going to the movies and staring up at the screen. There’s a magic to it. And much of that enchantment comes from movies like Indiana Jones and The Mummy, real cavalier hero adventures. I must have seen The Mummy 20 times by now, and just dreaming one day being that hero; I’ve always wanted to be that. STRIPLV: The training, how awful was it? VIKANDER: Not awful at all. (Laughs) I learned more about physicality than I ever realized and I’m shocked how my body reacted to this training and lifestyle. STRIPLV: Have you kept up the regime? VIKANDER: No, it’s slipped a little by the wayside. Six days a week in the gym, a couple of hours a day— that is very grueling and rigorous. Without my amazing trainer, Magnus, I don’t have the discipline to do it on my own. STRIPLV: But you’re quite used to it from your days as a dancer. Did that help at all? VIKANDER: It’s a different world. But that’s a big reason why I wanted to do something like this, I’ve been after a role with high endurance physicality, and it doesn’t get more physical than Lara. STRIPLV: What was the specific training? VIKANDER: A lot of weights, lots of lifting. A combination of boxing, MMA, climbing and lots of high interval training. STRIPLV: All the fun stuff! VIKANDER: Yes, all the fun stuff. STRIPLV: And you can lift your own weight now, can’t you? VIKANDER: I never thought that would be possible. I’m not sure if I can do it now, but that was a very empowering moment. STRIPLV: Wonder Woman was the biggest hit of the year and a huge step for women in the industry. VIKANDER: I went to see that while we were shooting, and I think to see the opening sequence with all women in this amazing fight scene, I was blown away

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