Tomb Raider starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander is coming out tomorrow but to tide you over until then Scannain was lucky enough to catch star Daniel Wu at the red carpet. We discussed his love of the franchise, the incredible set pieces and so much more. Check it out below.
Q. So Daniel were you a fan of Tomb Raider when it was first released in 1996?
Daniel. Definitely, definitely. I remember distinctly when the game came out and I was like woah a female hero in a game. This has never happened before because at that point videogames were mostly a boy dominated world. Then to see this female character show up and then female gamers show up because there’s a whole audience that couldn’t play games because they had no one. They didn’t really feel like they could own it until Lara showed up and they could play her themselves. So yeah I played the first two versions of the game and then I quit gaming in 2002 because it was just taking up too much time and this was when RPG gaming was really starting to take over and you can’t just play it then set it down. It’s like 2 hours, no it’s not it’s 6 hours then it’s 4 in the morning and you’ve got work at 6 so I was like, “what am I doing”? But I know the other games really well and I know the other two movies really well because they filmed part of the second one in Hong Kong and one of my best friends is in that so I was there when they were filming that base jumping scene. I was watching them base jump all day long so I have a weird connection to the film franchise.
Q. You say you stepped away from gaming but you’re a part of several game-related projects. You’re in Skylanders, now in Tomb Raider and before that Warcraft as Gul’dan.
Daniel. Haha, that’s not a conscious decision.
Q. Is it not?
Daniel. I was a part of Warcraft because my wife plays WOW so she forced me, well she told me she’d kill me if I didn’t take the role. So she was able to come on set and nerd out every day when she saw the Gold Chariot she was jumping for joy. So that was brownie points for the wife.
Q. You’ve had such an eclectic career so what was it like working on the set of Tomb Raider compared to say Into The Badlands or Warcraft?
Daniel. Yeah for the majority of my career I was in Hong Kong, China so I was mostly there making Hong Kong films, making Chinese films. I watched the Chinese film industry start from nothing to grow to where it is now and then starting to work on Badlands then working here having a very international crew. We have American people, Irish people of course, but then going to Cape Town for Tomb Raider was crazy because it was a real big wash of different people. Roar Uthuag our director is Norwegian, Alicia is Swedish, you’ve got English crews, South African crews, American crews so it’s really crazy mix of people and you know me as a Chinese actor in there it was truly international and it was really great to see us all working together to make such an amazing project, it was just really fun.
Q. You were saying it was such a franchise for female actors and so on, what was it like for your sisters Gloria and Greta is the new feature directed by Academy Award®-winning Irish director Neil Jordan, and starring Chloë Grace Moretz, Isabelle Huppert, and Maika Monroe. to find out you were a part of such a franchise?
Daniel. Haha, wow you’ve really done your research.
Q. Haha, thank you.
Daniel. They’re 10 and 12 years older than me so they never played the games. I think they saw the movies and so they were like, “oh wow Angelina is going to do it again”? and I had to say, “no, no, no it’s a different girl”. They didn’t even know Alicia at the time they’re not big movie people so they were excited for me but they didn’t know what to expect but they’re going to see it next week so they’re excited. My dad is actually in the film, there’s a picture in the film of Lu Ren’s father and that’s my actual dad in that photo. It’s funny because my dad has been bugging me my whole career, “Get me in one of your movies, get me in one of your movies”! And now he’s 89 so he’s a little too old to try and get in but I got him in with that one photo so I’m pretty proud of that.
Q. That’s actually such a nice touch. You said there you’re a big fan of Hong Kong films and a lot of the films (Tomb Raider) action harkens back to a lot of intense action set pieces for example when Lara is rushing through the marketplace. What was it like on set just watching that all unfold?
Daniel. Yeah I mean it was a walk in the park for me because of what I do on Badlands is crazy so compared to that it was easy for me. But Alicia was doing all the heavy lifting in this, I was actually fearful for her in this because she was so headstrong, she had no fear and it’s kind of dangerous when you have no fear. You should have a little bit of fear when you’re doing stunts but she would jump right into things and I remember this one thing where she had to do a wire jump when we’re trying to escape the camp and she has to jump off this bridge onto a boulder. She just did it without even thinking about it but most people are a little nervous you know they walk up and they think about it. But with Alicia, they’re like “action”! and she just leapt off the thing and I was like okay she knows what she’s doing but we’ve got to be careful with her but it was cool to see her put herself through the grinder for this movie.
Q. Well, it’s great to hear you all had such a great time and that you got to have that kind of moment with your father. Daniel, it was a great film thanks very much.
Daniel. Thank you.