“You have to get over the fear that it will hurt” – Alicia Vikander talks us through Tomb Raider’s most painful-to-shoot scenes

Being Lara Croft isn’t all digging up mystical treasures, y’know. We’ve already found out about Alicia Vikander literally being thrown into a river without a life vest when filming Tomb Raider. The pain didn’t stop there, however. Slow-mo sliding, medieval-style rope-pulling and injuries so bad they ended up just being a part of the movie. It’s all here – and it’s all painful.

The majority of the movie’s big scenes (no spoilers for those who haven’t seen it, don’t worry) comes when, who’d have thunk it, Lara travels down to the depths of an ancient tomb. You might’ve seen part of it already in the various trailers. Remember Lara sliding under the death trap? So, yeah, that was pretty real.

“It was so much about the precision because I had to run and learn how to try and slide myself on the floor. I was totally blue on the side of my body because I had done it all day in different angles,” Alicia Vikander casually recollects.

It wasn’t as easy as Vikander makes it sound, though. She required the help of some old-timey rope-pulling. Something you can imagine being in a torture room that Lara wouldn’t think twice about having a poke around in, “With [the sliding] it was so difficult because the frame is pretty small so, in the end, we just decided to put a rope on my foot and three guys as fast as they could just ran the other way!”

That’s physical pain, but there’s also the incredibly-not-insignificant matter of cringing out of your skin while watching yourself. That happened too with Alicia Vikander’s attempts at slow-mo, proving that one of the world’s top actresses isn’t safe from looking like a cartoon character from time to time.

“Everything is just more fun in slow-mo… you [just] can’t do too much with your face,” Vikander tells me. “The close-up we probably did four or five takes… But when you do it for real your face does kinda funny things and in slo-mo that doesn’t look too cool.”

Those things could be cut (though I would love to see the deleted scenes of Lara’s goofy faces) but some, uhh, cuts couldn’t be cut. You still with me? As it turns out, Alicia Vikander was so badly beaten up in some scenes, they just decided to make it part of Lara’s character, “You have pain, a lot of pain: I had bumps and bruises and cuts. Some of them had to go into the actual ‘look’ of Lara.”

Ouchy. Lara’s top tip for filming scenes such as those in the tomb where you know you’re gonna get more than a few scrapes? “You have to get over the fear that it will hurt.” Good advice, now, for the love of god, bring some plasters with you next time.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.