Dosije Lara Kroft - homepage
Intervju sa Larom Kroft - Bikini Magazine
  Tomb Raider   Lara Kroft   Download   Desktop   Linkovi
February 1999 Bikini Magazine

There are some things you just shouldn't mess with: Texas, a dog that's eating, and video game hero Lara Croft. Paul Semel gets downloaded and dirty with the star of Tomb Raider III.

I am awakened up by the sound of gunfire. Although I've lived in a number of hellholes in my life - Los Angeles, New Jersey, the suburbs - I have never been awakened by the sound of gunfire before. But sleeping on the second floor of Lara Croft's English countryside mansion, here I am awakened by gunfire.

Needless to say, I'm not happy about it.

"It's 4:30 in the morning!" I yell down to the responsible party, the lady of the manor. Her response? "No it's not... it's 4:38." This isn't what I want to hear, but being too tired to work up any real anger, I jokingly pretend I'm Cartman and respond in my best screechy kid voice, "Go back to sleep, you sonofabitch!"

That doesn't work either. Now she's shooting at me. Well, not at me - about two inches above my head to be exact -but in my general direction. And though I know she missed me intentionally, I still only rise up enough to peer out the window, Kilroy-style. "Fine!" I yell, "You win! It's 4:38!"

If life has taught me anything, it's to know when I've been licked. And when you're dealing with Lara Croft, you're always licked. As the inspiration for the Tomb Raider video games (of which Tomb Raider III: The Adventures of Lara Croft is the newest), Lara is not a woman to be trifled with; when she tells you to get your lazy ass out of bed, you get your lazy ass out of bed. Which I did, heading down the stairs in my Ally McBeal-like pajamas to where Lara was practicing her marksmanship, stopping only briefly to grab my tape recorder, two beers, some sandals, and a sweater.

Opening the door to the courtyard, where there's both a target range and obstacle course, I am greeted by the well-lit image of my host. She strikes an imposing figure, this Lara. Proportioned like Pam Anderson, but with muscles like Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2 and the big eyes and pouty lips of Wild Things' Denise Richards, she's both sexy and scary, frighteningly good-looking and just plain frightening, the kind of woman you'd want to get tied up by, just not in a Batman-tying-up-Joker kind of way. And she's a pretty good shot, too.

Sitting on the ground, I crack open a beer, offer it to her, and drink it myself when she defers, hoping to calm my nerves. Whether it was the gunplay or just Lara herself that inspired my jitters though, I didn't really know.

"It all started with a plane crash in the Himalayas," she says when I ask how she got started. "At first I was sure I would die. I was the only survivor, it was freezing, and I had no idea how to survive. But I managed to pull myself together. It took me two weeks, and I was almost dead by the time I staggered into a small village."

Pausing to look at me, her thick English voice becomes contemplative. "I actually don't remember all that much," she says. "I was suffering from exhaustion, not to mention emotional stress - it was the most traumatic experience I've ever known. I lost a lot of my friends in that crash. But since then I've been determined to look after myself. You see, I was so used to a life of pampering and luxury that I never knew anything different. Two weeks fending for myself really opened my eyes, and I realized that even though the circumstances were traumatic, I never felt so alive. I became determined to see the world and stand on my own two feet."

The life of an explorer is a lonely one, Lara tells me. There aren't any bars where Indiana Jones-wannabes hang out, swapping stories of snakes, rolling boulders, and Nazi henchman. "Most adventurers I meet are out to get me," she explains, "so there's no chance of having a chat with them about combat or survival techniques."

Which isn't so important when you live somewhere civilized. But Lara doesn't really visit those places. "I've actually never visited either city," she admits when I mention New York and Los Angeles. "I don't think there's much worth pursuing in either place at the moment. Most of the relics I search for tend to be in wild locations.

"Then again, can L.A. really be described as civilized?"

"How many unexplored places are there anymore?" I ask. "I mean, is there anywhere they haven't put a Starbucks?"

"A lot more than I ever imagined," she responds. "The world's still full of places that are unexplored. Hopefully I'll be the first to get to them - unless Starbucks beats me to it."

Lara Croft is the kind of woman who has to do things her own way, even if it gets other people killed. Which is why she won't stop shooting, no matter how nice I ask, until she decides she's done, and then it's only because she wants to work out a bit. Which reminds me, I need another beer.

As with the rest of the house, the kitchen is immaculate, with not a trace of dust, grease, or last night's dinner. This says nothing about Lara, however, as the house, and thus the kitchen, is maintained by her butler.

The only area of disarray, I notice, is the counter by the sink, where Lara has left the stack of photos she showed me last night when I first arrived. Most are of her friends - Jennifer, who runs a gym in New York City; L.B., who lives in Chicago with her husband and their kid Samantha; and Kris, a computer jockey in London - though there's also a few of people she's only met once or twice, including Marilyn Manson, Liv Tyler, and Bono.

While showing me her snapshots, I jumped onto the counter to sit, and pulled my knees up to my chest in an attempt to seem more vulnerable. "Tell me about your friends." I said, quietly. "Are they people you know from school, or are most of them people you've met during your travels?"

"A mixture, really. I have some old school friends who I see from time to time, and during my travels I've met a couple of people who've become close friends, but, unfortunately, there's usually not much time for socializing."

It's obviously taken a toll on her love life as well. Not one picture is of a guy with his arms around her shoulders, kissing her, or holding her hand. Then again, it's hard to trust men when so many have tried to kill you.

Even so, I asked what a guy would have to do to get her attention.

"Well, he'd have to know how to handle his weapon," she laughed, leaning against the sink. "Seriously, though, I really don't have much time for men at the moment - though part of me might enjoy a little romance from time to time.

"The thing is, any guy who wanted to go out with me really wouldn't see that much of me. There's no room for passengers on my trips, and as soon as I've finished one adventure, it's usually straight into the next."

Still fiddling with the pictures, I held up one of Lara with her friend's kid and asked if she ever thought she'd settle down one day and have little Laras of her own.

"I do like children," she replied, "but it would hardly be practical at the moment. Maybe one day...."

And with that, Lara went to bed.

Arriving back at the shooting range - a pair of beers in one hand, a corned beef and pastrami sandwich on rye with Russian dressing in the other - I watch Lara run an obstacle course that would kill even the most energetic of grade-school kids. And again, And again. Until finally she does the entire thing in under a minute. By which time I've killed both beers and my sandwich.

After toweling herself off, Lara grabs a bottle of Evian, walks over to where I'm sitting, and stands over me like she's probably stood over a lot of inert bodies. But instead of bleeding a lot, I crack a joke about how she's always wearing the same aqua-green top and khaki shorts. "I have four new outfits for Tomb Raider III," she declares, playfully kicking my feet. "I even got a long-sleeved thermal jacket for the Antarctic."

Sensing she's in a playful mood, I continue to rib her, asking what she does with the artifacts she finds, since Indiana Jones always gave his to museums and doesn't she think she should do the same after all?

"I have my own private collection,' she tells me, "which will be auctioned for charity when I die. I'm afraid I couldn't possibly part with any of my trophies at the moment, though."

I also mention that, at least during the game, she's been known to search a huge tomb for a single key when she could just as easily kick in the door or shoot out the lock.

"But then the game would be over way too quickly," she says rather matter-of-factly. "There have been times in real life when I've done that, but in a game, where's the fun in that? "

"Well, where's the fun in killing poor, defenseless animals?" I jokingly shoot back, to which she replies, "I only kill in self-defense. It gives me no pleasure to kill an animal, though when face-to-face with a savage and hungry beast, there's little else I can do. But the fur trade is cruel and unnecessary - I don't own any myself."

Looking up at her, I can't help but notice that she's grinning more than she has all weekend. She obviously enjoys being teased, especially when it gets kind of flirty.

Encouraged, I finally ask the one question I've been waiting to ask. "So..." I say, motioning toward her chest, "are they real?"

Unfortunately, Lara doesn't react the way I was hoping she would. She doesn't peel off her shirt, revealing them to me, or let me touch them, or even say "yes." Instead, she gets angry.

"You know I'm 100 percent silicone," she snaps, throwing the Evian bottle to the ground, "so why the fascination with my chest? I'm really sick and tired of people going on about it. I can't help the way I was made! "

Lara picks up her bottle and storms off, so mad that she probably would've shot me were this not a place where such things are frowned upon. And I would've deserved it. I had hurt her feelings, crossed a line I shouldn't have crossed. I had been a dick, a sexist, piggish, male stereotypical dick, and now my host, my subject, the woman with whom I hoped to befriend, was walking away from me in a tizzy.

Which is when I realized: She's got a nice ass.

No one who's met Lara would be surprised that boob questions don't fly. This is a woman who's had amazing adventures, cheated death more times than most of us have cheated at cards, faced dragons, tigers, and bears, oh my, and yet all anyone ever wants to talk about are her tits.

Which is probably why details of her sex life are off-limits, almost as if people are overseeing her image. When asked when she lost her virginity, she offers only a curt, "That's really none of your business." And asking if she's seeing anyone at the moment gets an Al Jaffee-style snappy answer to that stupid question, "Why? You want a date?" (That she revealed as much as she did before is unusual.)

In fact, this cone of silence extend beyond Lara, covering her friends, family, and business associates, as well as people she's only been rumored to have met one night at a bar. Everyone asked to comment for this article declined, and the lineup reads like the guest list of Madonna's 40th birthday party: Liz Taylor, Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Calista Flockhart, the doorman at the Sky Bar, Julia Roberts, Matt Damon....

Still, the rumors persist. It's been said that an executive at one of the major film studios was so taken with Lara that he sent her nine Volkswagen Beetles, one in each color. And fellow video game hero Crash Bandicoot was supposedly so distraught when Lara said she just wanted to be friends that he wrote 124 poems about how she would've gone out with him if he was taller, smoked cigarettes, or named Vlad the Impaler.

I ask her about these stories when I finally find her, two hours later, curled up in a chair in her library reading Bridget Jones's Diary. (Well, after I apologize profusely and promise to build many temples in her honor.) "I actually saw Crash a couple of months ago," Lara says, setting the book on her lap, "but he was in too much of a hurry to chat. All that spinning around must make him quite dizzy, but he seems to cope well enough." Beyond that, though, she was mum.

It's dinnertime, and Lara is treating me to a nice filet mignon, a good bottle of Pinot Noir, and a fine Macanudo. In between the main course and desert, I pull out my tape recorder. We've been talking for days, but had yet to discuss the new game, Tomb Raider III, which was based on an adventure she'd had last year.

"It was more unusual than the others," she says of that outing. "The artifacts I was looking for were really quite strange. I went to Nevada, the South Pacific, Antarctica, and India in search of them."

It also gave her a chance to visit friends in London, though not for long. "Things in London got tricky," she explains, "so I had to resort to going out only at night - and then I had to stick to the rooftops and sewers."

But Tomb Raider III isn't the end of it. There's already a book about her, Lara's Book: Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Phenomenon, with essays written by Generation X scribe Douglas Coupland, while Paramount is planning a movie of her life. As flattering as these things might be, Lara isn't really phased by the attention. "Paramount and Eidos [the makers of the game] have looked after me very well so far," she says, "so I'm happy to let them handle it. Besides which, Hollywood really isn't my style."

Sensing that her last utterance was a good one to leave hanging in the air, Lara stands up from the table and heads upstairs. But not being all that sleepy, I instead head to the kitchen for another beer. The opener isn't where I had left it, though, so I start looking through the drawers, and instead find a cupboard full of candy. "This is it," I think, barely containing a squeal, "I've found her deep, dark secret. I can see the headline now: 'Exclusive! Famed Adventurer Lara Croft Has Sweet Tooth!'"

I quickly look around for a pen to jot down the details of this revelation, when the butler walks in.

"You wanna stay out of my candy drawer," he barks, shuffling toward me. "Please."

"These are yours?" I ask hesitantly, hoping I'm wrong. "She eats this stuff too, right?"

"Are you kidding?" he says, closing the drawer. "If you looked like that, would you eat this crap?"

The next morning, right before I leave for the airport, Lara and I have breakfast on the porch. Her morning workout had gone well, and she is once again a playful mood, even flicking a strawberry in my general direction.

But when I jokingly scold her like a father would a daughter, she doesn't laugh. For a moment, she looks like a hurt little girl. "My parents don't understand my passion for adventure," she finally mutters. "I remember my childhood days with happiness, but at the age of 16 I was sent away to school to be 'groomed' for the life of an aristocrat.

"Unfortunately, I don't have much contact with my parents now."

This makes me wonder if her death defiance isn't just her way of getting her parents' attention, and while she understands why I think that, she says the real reason isn't so Freudian. "I go on my adventures," she says, "because they're my one true passion. Sure, nothing last forever, but whatever happens, I'll be happy so long as I'm on an adventure!" Vrh stranice

Bikini™ RayGun Publishing Inc. ©1998 Bikini Magazine