How do you get me interested in a Tomb Raider sequel? Hire an incredibly weird and singular director like Ben Wheatley. Deadline reports that the helmer of Kill List, Sightseers, High-Rise, and A Field in England is going to direct the next Tomb Raider movie with Alicia Vikander reprising the lead role of Lara Croft. Back in April, we reported that Wheatley’s frequent collaborator Amy Jump was writing the screenplay, and I suppose her involvement was enough to get Wheatley interested in the project.
Those who have seen Wheatley’s Free Fire knows he has the chops for action (although in its own weird way, Free Fire becomes almost an anti-action film as the characters are slowly chipped away at by bullets), but this an incredibly exciting hire, especially since he’ll be working from Jump’s script. It appears that Wheatley is slowly moving towards more “mainstream” projects as he’s currently in post-production on a new adaptation of Rebecca. That being said, it wouldn’t surprise me if that film has the weirdness and darkness he’s brought to his other movies.
I never would have thought of Wheatley for Tomb Raider 2 (although perhaps Jump’s involvement should have been the tipoff), but perhaps his perspective is what this franchise needs to stand out. They tried it with a straight action director (Roar Uthaug, who directed the first Tomb Raider, previously helmed the disaster movie The Wave), but that’s not really enough these days and the direction, paired with the script, made Tomb Raider instantly forgettable. To be fair, it’s not like the games have incredible stories, but that means there’s a lot of room for Wheatley and Jump to forge their own path. Sure, at the end of the day it’s going to need to be a PG-13 movie with mass appeal, but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring.
The untitled Tomb Raider sequel arrives March 19, 2021.