Tomb Raider actress Camilla Luddington on how loss informed her Lara Croft

To portray Lara Croft across three games, Luddington tapped into a reservoir of loss and identity.


My interview with Camilla Luddington, the voice and motion-capture actress who brought Lara Croft to life in the recent trilogy of Tomb Raider games that culminated with Shadow of the Tomb Raider in September, took an interesting turn when the subject of loss and grief came up.

“I lost my mum when I was younger,” she said when I asked if she had to tap into any memories or experiences while portraying Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. “I understand that feeling of mourning, and how that can change the direction of your life, even your outlook on life. There's a lot of Lara's drive that came from her parents: what happened to them, how she grew up, her mourning, and trying to find and recreate family.”

The subject hit a raw nerve. Not wanting to come across as insensitive, I mentioned to Luddington that I’d lost my dad when I was 19. I never got the chance to get to know him as an adult. It’s one of few regrets.

Camilla Luddington. (Image courtesy of Tara Bruno PR and Progressive Artists Agency.)

Luddington and I realized we had something very specific in common: Not only the loss of a parent, but suffering the loss at such a formative period in our lives.

“I was nineteen, too, when I lost my mum,” she said. “That's an interesting age to lose a parent, because you feel like you're being let loose into the world, but you also want to have stability and comfort from your parents. When that's taken from you, it does set you on a different course. I don't know, if she were here, if I would be sitting here doing this interview. I think my life may have gone in a different direction.”

You can read the rest of my interview with Luddington in Ascendant: The Fall of Tomb Raider and the Rise of Lara Croft, the latest long read on Shacknews.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at and @davidlcraddock.

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