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Tomb Raider writer says early drafts were "very Marvel in tone"

The TOMB RAIDER movie is officially in theaters and audiences can witness the origin of Lara Croft as she morphs into the badass, unstoppable hero we know from the games. The movie takes a serious and grounded approach to the series, which takes from the new, grittier, M-rated run of games. However, the early drafts of the script were much more “action-comedy” in tone, according to writer Geneva Robertson-Dworet, all before the tone was heavily shifted the other way.

During a chat with Collider, Robertson-Dworet explained how her first drafts of the script had the movie playing out much more like a Marvel movie, in that it was lighter in tone and had a lot more jokes. In fact, she said this sample is what got her the gig writing the CAPTAIN MARVEL movie. But, director Roar Uthaug and star Alicia Vikander (Croft), wanted something more grounded, hence a major tone shift.

My early drafts were very Marvel in tone, emphasizing the fun of it. Those early drafts became my sample that got me hired at Marvel. Alicia and Roar, based on his background as a Norwegian filmmaker and the movies he’s make there, wanted it to be more dramatic, serious and grounded. That was the major shift. Therefore, the dialogue got largely rewritten because when you change the tone, you rewrite the dialogue. Partially, that was by me, but I also want to give credit to the other writer on the project, Alastair Siddons, who took over when I hopped off. He wrote a huge amount of the dialogue, so I want to be fair to my fellow writer and give him credit for most of the dialogue, which actually was his.

Robertson-Dworet praised the collaborative relationship she had with Vikander, whom the writer said “had some really interesting instincts, in terms of making it feel like it does.” She goes on to compare her early drafts to the likes of the INDIANA JONES movies and was “really quippy,” but that in the rewrite a lot of that was cut out.

They actually cut out a huge number of the jokes because they felt like it wasn’t what a real person would say, in this situation. The heightened tone that Indiana Jones has, which I love, was not the grounded version of Tomb Raider that Roar [Uthaug], our director, and Alicia, our leading lady, had in mind. So, there was a lot of work done to retro-fit it to Alicia’s vision, and she nailed that realistic version because it was always in her head. We reworked the script to be more according to her vision and more grounded.

The change in the movie's tone seems to have been a solid move, as fans seem to be liking the movie, and with critics giving it much better marks than not only the earlier TOMB RAIDER movies (with Angelina Jolie), but than virtually all other video game movies before it.

Many major blockbusters nowadays are quick to go the route of Marvel and deliver something that’s equal parts exciting and funny. That may work for audiences, and indeed makes for an entertaining ride, but it shouldn't be embraced by every movie. Though I personally would’ve liked a few more jokes in the movie to lighten things up, I ultimately liked the more grounded, survivalist angle of RAIDER, which is something that if honed properly can set it apart from other franchise flicks. But, yes, people do like a few yucks thrown in. 

TOMB RAIDER is in theaters now.

Source: Collider

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