Aubrey Plaza Tells Newsweek She'd Love to Play Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

There have been stranger Hollywood origin stories.

This one begins with Aubrey Plaza and her filmmaker friend Edgar Wright (Last Night in Soho, Shaun of the Dead). When Wright saw the promotional poster for Plaza's new film Emily the Criminal, he mistakenly—but understandably—thought he was looking at a photo of his pal in costume as Lara Croft, the titular tomb raider who has previously been played by Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander in three Hollywood blockbusters.

Emily, which premieres in theaters on August 12, is about a woman (Plaza) who turns to a life of crime in order to get out of crushing student debt.

"It was so funny when [Edgar] texted me that because I didn't realize how strikingly similar those photos are," Plaza told Newsweek on Aug. 10. "Emily is carrying a purse strap and Lara Croft has a gun holster; those are very different. It's very weird and totally accidental, but I'll take it."

angelina jolie tomb raider audrey plaza emily
Filmmaker Edgar Wright thought this still of Aubrey Plaza in "Emily the Criminal" (right) was the actress in costume as the new Lara Croft. Left, Angelina Jolie in a promotional shot for the 2001 film "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider." Sunset Boulevard/Corbis Historical/Roadside Attractions/Vertical Entertainment

The Tomb Raider film franchise debuted in 2001 with Jolie as the lead in Lara Craft: Tomb Raider and its 2003 follow-up, Lara Craft: Tomb Raider—Cradle of Life. Both were based on the video game series about the titular artifact seeker. Vikander took over the title role in 2018's Tomb Raider.

Plaza first told the story on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and the host held up photos of Emily and Lara to prove just how striking the similarity is.

Turns out, Plaza isn't opposed to the idea. "Look, I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I love it," she told Newsweek. "It was so funny when he texted me that because I didn't realize how strikingly similar those photos are. Emily is carrying a purse strap and Lara Croft has a gun holster, those are very different. But it's very weird and totally accidental, but I'll take it."

The indie darling, known for the beloved series Parks and Recreation, and the breakout dark-comedy-dramas Ingrid Goes West and Black Bear, says, "I love action movies, and I don't discriminate against big movies or small movies. I love all kinds of movies. I would love it if somehow that turned into a real thing, but who knows, I have no idea. That's an iconic character. She's the original badass."

Vikander was slated to star in the Tomb Raider sequel, which was originally set to premiere during the pandemic and currently does not have a release date. Vikander then dropped out of the franchise, leaving the title character uncast.

Aubrey's been April, Ingrid, Emily...perhaps Lara is next.

Newsweek has reached out to Angelina Jolie and Alicia Vikander for comment.