Part of me wishes that this wasn’t even news, but there just aren’t enough female directors yet snagging big-budget tentpoles as to make the following seem unremarkable: MGM is rumored to be searching for a woman to reboot its Tomb Raider franchise, revitalizing the series that made a star out of Angelina Jolie and more recently birthed a stellar video game redo from Square Enix.
According to scoopster Umberto Gonzalez, MGM wants a “Michelle MacLaren type” at the helm for the Tomb Raider remake. What that means isn’t exactly clear, but MacLaren first made her mark on the small screen, directing key episodes of prestige series like Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, The Leftovers and Better Call Saul. Warner Bros. hand-picked her to direct its high-profile Wonder Woman stand-alone, but she ultimately departed the project over the good ol’ creative differences and was replaced by Patty Jenkins (another female helmer, known for Monster).
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No other big studio gigs have materialized for MacLaren in the wake of that wave-making exit, so it seems odd that MGM would name-drop her unless it simply means that they want a female director who hasn’t broken big yet but who appears to be teetering on the edge of blockbuster success.
Here’s a crazy notion – why aren’t they looking at MacLaren? Maybe they are, and Gonzalez isn’t quite on base here, because simply using her name to signify a “type” (we’re left to assume that type is “female, up-and-coming and talented,” which is very broad) seems strange.
Anyway, Warner Bros. is lining up to distribute the reboot, which is on a fast track with Evan Daugherty (G.I. Joe 3, Snow White and the Huntsman) having penned a script that has gone out to directors. It’s assumed that Jolie won’t reprise the role of Croft, leaving that to a younger up-and-comer who would topline a new series. I could easily see Felicity Jones, Kaya Scodelario, Daisy Ridley (coming off Star Wars: The Force Awakens), Emilia Clarke (unless Terminator Genisys sinks her back to TV), Kat Graham or Gugu Mbatha-Raw delivering distinct and interesting takes on the character.
All of this is unconfirmed, but it makes a lot of sense for the female-driven Tomb Raider reboot to enlist a female director – it would be a way to signify interest in turning Lara Croft into more than just a slinky sex symbol while simultaneously working to get another woman behind the camera of a blockbuster production, which has traditionally been a role dominated by men. In other words, this is a no-brainer.