With Rise of the Tomb Raider on the way, Lara Croft actress, Camilla Luddington, has explained a little more of ‘the method’ she uses to bring Lara to life. And her tip for getting a realistic drowning performance sounds more Guantanamo Bay than RADA.
Tomb Raider’s 2013 reboot wasn't short of creative deaths, from impalings to rock crushings, Lara often met torturously painful ends. Something that Camilla had to bring to life. Speaking to Game Informer (opens in new tab) she’s talked a little about that process, something that involves shouting herself horse, nearly passing out and a method for reenacting drowning that sounds like actual drowning.
“Sometimes,” she explains, “the only way to do it, especially in a video booth, is to have a bottle of water and force yourself to choke on it. Capturing that is a bizarre process and it’s really difficult.” It’s the one Lara death reaction Camilla’s had enough of: “I would love it if she never drowned ever again. Drowning is the most difficult.”
When it comes to other reactions, things can still get just as physical. “Sometimes you just have to use the elements around you to help with those moments that you have never experienced before. It’s hard to call on actual memory [...] to physicalize it, it makes it a lot easier.”
Even the simple stuff isn't without risks. Ever tried pretending to be cold and shiver for an entire working day? "What you don’t realize, is when you’re shivering and taking in a sharp breath, you start to hyperventilate," says Camilla. "There will be times when I have to take a few minutes between scenes because I start to get really dizzy. I don’t mind doing it, but it does make me sometimes feel like I could pass out."
That all said, the more unpleasant the death scene, the better, says Camilla. “I think the more gruesome it is the more fun it is to play in a way. Because sometimes what we come up with is just so horrifying, and it’s not like she’s just getting stabbed – she falls, then a burn, and then this and that. It’s so completely overwhelming to even think of someone dying that way, and it’s fun. It always keeps things really fresh and new, because they’re always thinking of a new way she could die. Like, ‘Oh I never thought of that. Let’s do that. That’s horrible.’”