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You’ll never guess who Angelina Jolie was up against for the role of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider

Contributed by
Mar 9, 2018

It’s always been a bit of freaky fun to discover the actors that were originally considered for classic roles in cinema, and imagine how different those movies could have been. Some of the most well-known examples in genre movies include Indiana Jones (Tom Selleck), Marty McFly (Eric Stoltz), Wolverine (Dougary Scott), and now we can add Lara Croft to the list.

British director Simon West who helmed the popular video game's first big-screen adaptation, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2001, revealed to Entertainment Weekly the other actresses who were up for the part alongside Angelina Jolie. Although West was adamant on picking Jolie (for her “dark reputation” as she was considered a Hollywood wild child at the time), the studio wanted a safer bet and apparently considered the likes of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ashley Judd, and even Jennifer Lopez.

Yes, “Jenny from the Block” could have been the one to wrestle with that posh, British aristocratic accent while also battling a large robot in an Egyptian tomb. It would have certainly been a departure from some of the romantic comedies she was known for making around that time, including The Wedding Planner. We should probably note that per EW, none of these actresses necessarily auditioned or chased after the role (before you start searching for screen tests). However, West claims these were the names that were “thrown around” by the studio.

Because of Jolie’s lack of box office track record up to that point, West explains the studio was uneasy about handing her the role, despite the fact that she was already an Oscar winner (for Girl, Interrupted) at this stage of her career. But the rest is history of course, and the movie went on to gross over $274 million worldwide against a $115 million budget. And Jolie went on to star in the sequel too, 2003’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, which was made for a lesser $95 million and made $156 million worldwide.

Of course, Laura Croft hasn't gone away, what with the video game franchise still going strong, and Alicia Vikander starring in a reboot, Tomb Raider, opening Mar. 16.

Do you think Jenny from the Tomb would have been a hit? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.