Alicia Vikander’s directive to her Tomb Raider trainer Magnus Lygdback was, “Make me look like Alexander Skarsgard in Tarzan”. Lygdback, the same trainer who worked with Skarsgard for that film, moulded the Swedish actress into the strongest version of herself to play the temple-running, chasm-leaping adventurer Lara Croft. Vikander’s muscle definition and cut-like-a-diamond abs in the film have had audiences in awe in the same way we welcomed Gal Gadot’s strong physique in Wonder Woman, an actress Lygdback also trained.

“I learned more about physicality than I ever realised and I’m shocked how my body reacted to this training and lifestyle,” Vikander told GRAZIA. “There was a lot of weights, lots of lifting. A combination of boxing, MMA, climbing and lots of high interval training. I’ve been after a role with high endurance physicality and it doesn’t get more physical than Lara.”

Vikander said she surprised herself when she became strong enough to lift her own bodyweight. “I never ever thought that would be possible. I’m not sure if I can do it now but that was a very empowering moment,” she said. “Six days a week in the gym, a couple of hours a day, that is very gruelling and rigorous. Without my amazing trainer, Magnus, I don’t have the discipline to do it on my own.”

Seven years after the supposed death of her father – a billionaire and secret adventurer – Croft follows his clues to the tomb of a Japanese empress located on an uninhabited island in the most treacherous of waters. It’s here she uncovers an anonymous – and ill-defined – entity plotting global genocide. Vikander warns though, this isn’t an Angelina Jolie reprisal attempt. It is indeed the backstory to how Lara Croft became Lara Croft, beginning in East London.“We’re not trying to copy or reinvent what Angelina did,” Vikander says. “When I heard they were going to make a new Tomb Raider, I thought Angelina was the one and only Lara Croft, and she would be difficult to replace. But a new version of the video game came out in 2013 and our film will give a different vision of the character and we want to be able to put our own stamp on it. It’s always going to be a challenge to take on a character like this, especially one that Angelina turned into an icon.”

Jolie reportedly took her children to see Tomb Raider across the weekend.

Read Vikander’s full interview here. 

Tomb Raider is in Australian cinemas now.

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