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In the interviews released today for March 16’s Tomb Raider movie, there was one consistent adjective running through the remarks from both the film’s star, Alicia Vikander, and its director, Roar Uthaug: authentic. The cast and crew of the action-adventure movie went to painstaking lengths to eschew CGI in favor of building elaborate sets and crafting true-to-life characters.

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Before choreographing the first fight scene, director Roar Uthaug (The Wave) made Lara Croft’s character his top priority. As Uthaug told reporters, he wanted to roll back the clock on Lara and turn her into a “real girl,” someone to whom the viewer can relate when the bullets started flying.

Casting Oscar-winner Alicia Vikander in the title role indeed went a long way toward accomplishing that feat. Uthaug was quick to celebrate his actress’ innate ability, praising Vikander’s emotional range and the “raw, honest truth” she delivers to every role. Head-turning performances in The Danish Girl and Ex Machina prove that the 29-year-old Vikander has what it takes to lend Lara Croft some compelling emotional depth.

With his star in place, Uthaug focused on expanding the sense of realism to the film’s extensive sets. Rather than opt for a computer-generated tomb, for example, Uthaug built the thing, ensuring that audiences will find themselves sucked into the proceedings that much further. That same level of detail was given to each of the movie’s surroundings. Though the film was shot in Capetown, South Africa, one Hong Kong set was so authentic that Tomb Raider star and Hong Kong native Daniel Wu proclaimed that it reminded him of home.

There are still a few more weeks until the March 16 release of Tomb Raider, but with each new detail, the movie inches closer to accomplishing the unthinkable: becoming a good video game adaptation.

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