The Internet is a den of speculation, that’s all it is. Whenever a film website, no matter how prestigious it may be, mentions that “Hollywood insiders” have informed them that so and so has been cast as the new lead in such and such, I take it as little more than wishful fan casting. Except the only difference between a post on a film site and a post on a message board is that the film site’s tipster is probably real, they’re also probably the actor in question’s agent’s assistant out to test the waters or drum up support. So when ShowBizSpy.com reported last week that “Hollywood insiders” had told them Kim Kardashian would be replacing Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft in a new Tomb Raider film, I took it with a meteor-sized grain of salt. But even though I don’t actually believe that casting for a second, I’m still going to fall for their trap and talk about it.
A few things come to mind. The first is the ludicrous idea that Kardashian is “replacing” Jolie, as if there is a chance in hell Jolie would actually return to the video-game-turned-film franchise that flailed around meekly seven years ago. So even if this casting is true, Kardashian isn’t “replacing” anyone, she’s filling a vacated pair of khaki booty shorts with dual gun holsters. That technicality aside, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I actually like this casting choice.
Not because I am actually a big fan of the socialite/sex tape star/reality star/occasional actress and think she’s perfect for the role, but because I appreciate the idea of casting outside of the box. I think in typical Hollywood land, were a new Tomb Raider film an impending reality, Rhona Mitra would be cast right away. She’s a great looking gal, she’s got the Lara Croft figure and British accent already, and with films like Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and Doomsday under her belt, she’s already proven that she can believably kick ass in tight-fitting outfits. But you know what? That’s boring.
If we’re to revisit Tomb Raider on the big screen, it needs to be fun; it needs to be silly and supremely matinée. The first two films, though far from realistic, weren’t all that absurd. Neither are worthless films, but they’re fairly generic actioners that happen to have a gorgeous lead actress; that’s it. Movies like that are a dime a dozen. If the film’s producers go back to the video game’s roots, however, we might actually be in for something special.
Let’s not forget this is a game franchise that started off with its heroine fighting dinosaurs. Lara Croft was Indiana Jones with a great rack who flew around the world so she could jump from rock to rock while avoiding being eaten by dinosaurs. The game took it all quite seriously, but that’s also why the games are all kind of boring once the puberty-stricken teen in you stops trying to position the camera so Ms. Croft is perfectly framed. A new movie, on the other hand, is an opportunity to indulge in just how ridiculous those games could be.
Tomb Raider on the big screen needs to be more than just a watered-down Mummy with a femme fatale instead of Brendan Fraiser. It needs to go in guns blazing with an actress who is going to be perfectly willing to embrace how baseline it all is. You can’t just cast an actress, like the hypothetical Rhona Mitra, that could have been cast in the first two films without altering the outcome of said films one iota. You’ve got to do something bold and different; You’ve got to be comic and over the top. And really, is there anything more comic and over the top than someone like Kim Kardashian making her way to the big screen as a 3D action star?
Or maybe I’m just barking up the wrong fanboy tree here. Maybe I’m the only one who wants to see Kim Kardashian in a skimpy outfit nearly eaten alive by velociprators. Maybe other people don’t want to see Tomb Raider become sillier. If that’s the case, then fine; you can keep your generic Lara Croft and your bland Tomb Raider. I’m starting a new campaign. Hold on, I just got a new email… A Hollywood Insider tells me that Kim Kardashian is in negotiations to play the lead lass in an adaptation of the Playstation game Dino Crisis…