Why the new Lara Croft looks so familiar

In early 2017, Tomb Raider fans everywhere got their first look at Swedish actress Alicia Vikander suited up as the series' protagonist Lara Croft in the upcoming film franchise reboot. Casting Vikander was—like the rebooted video game series it's based on—an interesting change of pace. Instead of the Angelina Jolie-type Lara Croft archetype, director Roar Uthaug opted instead for the former ballerina and lithe period-piece specialist. Tomb Raider will be Vikander's first foray into big-budget action, but she's been very busy over the past decade, and you've probably seen her in both leading and supporting roles before.

From Swedish-language film star to indie darling to full-blown A-list celebrity, let's look back on Alicia Vikander's meteoric rise to Oscar-winning fame—and figure out just where you've seen her before.

Pure (2009)

One of the first films to land Alicia Vikander some international recognition was Lisa Langseth's Swedish drama Pure. Titled Till det som är vackert in its native language, the film stands out as a real masterpiece of Swedish cinema, landing Vikander Best Actress in a Leading Role honors at the 46th Guldbagge Awards—which still remains one of the most prestigious trophies in the actress' cabinet.

Vikander's role as the ex-prostitute Katarina in Pure is definitely heavy, but the actress relishes the thrill of playing uncomfortable characters. "I love when I am outside my comfort zone," she told Variety. "I question myself: Can I really do it? I love the kicks in this profession—the extreme highs and lows. I'm addicted to those kicks."

A Royal Affair (2012)

Vikander followed up her breakthrough performance in Pure with a supporting role opposite Mads Mikkelsen in Nikolaj Arcel's historical drama A Royal Affair. Officially titled En kongelig affære in the film's native Danish, it delighted audiences and was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 85th Academy Awards, as well as at the 70th Golden Globe Awards.

Vikander's work as Queen Caroline Mathilde helped launch her into "next big thing" status, but the role wasn't easy to land—especially because it required the Swede to learn Danish. "I did my first audition in Swedish," Vikander told the Independent. "I had to call my friend's mother, who is half-Danish. She actually recorded all of the lines (in Danish) on her iPhone and sent them to me so I was able to practice on my own." Vikander promised Arcel she'd learn Danish before filming, and succeeded to the point where most members of the Danish audience didn't even realize she wasn't a native speaker.

Anna Karenina (2012)

Alicia Vikander's debut in English-language cinema came in Joe Wright's 2012 film adaptation of Leo Tolstoy's famous novel Anna Karenina, in which the then 23-year-old actress played Princess Ekaterina Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya—a.k.a. "Kitty."

Filming the Russian classic was quite an adventure itself. "It was 40 below, we didn't have hot water for five days and slept in a cabin, on a bench," Vikander told The Guardian. "On our call sheets it actually said: 'Beware of wolves. They are known to attack lone humans.' We saw a wolf one time, and a bear, but there were some very tough Russian security guys who came along … It was one of the most fantastic adventures I've ever had in my life. But I don't need to do it twice."

Perhaps even more challenging was coming to grips with playing a character Vikander wasn't particularly fond of when first reading the book at age 15. "I was very judgmental about the women characters, particularly Anna and Kitty," Vikander explained. "I looked down on Anna because of all the wrong things she did, and I thought Kitty was this young, naïve girl who didn't stand up for herself." However, with age and a more mature perspective, she learned to understand the 19th-century noblewomen. "I had to have more experience in life and now I understand every decision and the things they gave up or fought for."

The Fifth Estate (2013)

Vikander's English-language acting career started gathering steam in 2013, when she landed the supporting role of Anke Domscheit-Berg in Bill Condon's WikiLeaks thriller The Fifth Estate opposite Benedict Cumberbatch as the website's high-profile founder Julian Assange.

Vikander was well-versed in the film's subject matter before auditioning for the role. "I knew a lot about WikiLeaks already," she told GQ. "One of the most famous documentaries about it came out in Sweden before the war logs were released, and Julian [Assange] was still considered a very brave man." From Vikander's perspective, the film takes an appropriately impartial stance on the programmer responsible for leaking thousands of secret and classified documents. "The Fifth Estate doesn't judge what he did," she claims, "but brings the subject of transparency to the surface."

Hotell (2013)

2013 also saw Alicia Vikander star in the Swedish drama film Hotell, in which she plays Erika, a mother struggling with postnatal depression who finds comfort in hotel rooms.

Vikander found herself attracted to the script because she enjoys playing uncomfortable roles—and because she'd already worked with the film's director, Lisa Langseth, on Pure. "I was really drawn to the script," she told Refinery29. "Many women go through [postnatal depression] if they have a family, but it's still a very taboo subject; I've never really seen it portrayed onscreen. I mean, I didn't even really know how it would work just by reading the script. I would end up laughing just two, three pages straight after some extremely moving, horrific scene. I was quite amazed at how Lisa was able to bring it all to the screen."

Ex Machina (2014)

2014 would prove to be a very big year for Alicia Vikander, due in no small part to her attention-getting turn in Alex Garland's Ex Machina. In the sci-fi psychological thriller, Vikander played Ava, a beautiful and dangerous robot powered by artificial intelligence—a role that landed her a slew of award nominations.

Ex Machina was a pleasant change of pace for Vikander, who'd already filmed her fair share of period dramas. "I've never chosen any film because it is or is not period," she told IndieWire. "But yes, when it comes to this kind of genre I think I have kind of a crush. … I just love those intimate, psychological sci-fi films. Then this script came along and it's one of the best scripts I've read. Normally you come in and work on a script and Alex was very open to us to change it, but it was just a very finished product. It's a page-turner."

Vikander wasn't the only fan of the finished product. The successful indie took home an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, as well as four British Independent Film Awards for Best British Independent Film, Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Outstanding Achievement in Craft.

Testament of Youth (2014)

Vikander's stunning performance in Ex Machina was followed by her portrayal of writer Vera Brittain in James Kent's film adaptation of her World War I memoir Testament of Youth.

In an interview with Collider, Vikander discussed the difficulties of playing a real-life character. "You need and you want to stay true to the story," she explained. "You want to … especially give justice to her family and friends who actually still live and who remember her, who knew her. That was probably the most nerve-wracking thing to meet them in person and do that. But they were so nice and they were really there to support."

That being said, Vikander still wanted to do what every good actor does: put themselves into the character, fictional or not. "With every single character," she explained, "I think you need to make it your own."

Son of a Gun (2014)

Alicia Vikander's third film in 2014 saw the Swedish actress team up with Brenton Thwaites, Ewan McGregor and Jacek Koman in Julius Avery's Australian crime thriller Son of a Gun.

"It was a very intense shoot," Vikander told IndieWire. "[Avery] … has a very specific style. He shows quite low-middle-class Australian people and I thought that many of the people that he worked with were not actors, but apparently they were—he's just able to make something very raw and authentic … When I read the script it had such pace, and then it turns into a heist thriller, so I was very intrigued to see how this director, who I thought was a very arthouse director, would do something like that."

Seventh Son (2014)

Sergei Bodrov's fantasy adventure film Seventh Son was the fourth high-profile release featuring Alicia Vikander to hit theaters in 2014, but it was actually one of her very first gigs. "That was my first movie four years ago," she told GoPride.com, "This is how studios work with releasing movies. It was a big experience for me because it was the first American film that I got. In the end, I wound up shooting Anna Karenina shortly before that."

Vikander singled out co-star Julianne Moore as "so supportive" and "an incredible mother and friend" during the shoot, but she didn't just dole out praise to her castmates—she received some of her own. Ben Barnes, who played protagonist Tom Ward, said Vikander was a fitting choice to play Alice Deane, telling Collider she was "the perfect witch." Be that as it may, her performance couldn't save Seventh Son from being earning critical scorn.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Vikander followed her breakout 2014 with another busy year, starting with Guy Ritchie's re-imagining of the hit '60s television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

Having appeared primarily in indie or lower-budget films, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was a new experience for Vikander. "I mean, they closed down the Spanish Steps in Rome," she told Vulture. "I was like, 'Are you kidding?' I couldn't believe it! But that's what you're able to do when you have those budgets, and it was a huge gift to be able to experience that. I could walk out on the street and feel like I'd time-traveled, with 200 extras and all the shop frames changed to look like the '60s."

Vikander's most memorable scene in The Man from U.N.C.L.E. comes when she dances with Armie Hammer and then slaps him—a spur of the moment idea from Ritchie that took Hammer by surprise during one of their first rehearsals. Saying Ritchie told his stars he wanted to "try something else," she recalled, "It did end up being quite funny, giving Armie a slap. I mean, he's almost double my length, Mr. Hammer."

The Danish Girl (2015)

2015 also saw Vikander starring in Tom Hooper's film adaptation of David Ebershoff's transgender novel The Danish Girl, brilliantly portraying the Danish painter Gerda Wegener and beating out Oscar favorite Kate Winslet for Best Supporting Actress while also taking home a Screen Actors Guild Award—officially rocketing the budding star to mainstream fame.

Before The Danish Girl put her name on the awards season docket, however, Vikander was blissfully unaware of that part of the Hollywood hoopla. "For me, it's all just very new," she told Vogue. "Being Swedish, I didn't know that 'awards season' was actually a thing. But—apparently it's a big thing. I think that it's all just buzz, and if people recognize the film and talk about the film, then maybe that will bring audiences to see our film. It's an important story to tell, so that's all we want."

Burnt (2015)

Rounding out 2015, Vikander appeared in the John Wells cooking drama Burnt, in which she appears in an ultra-brief role as Bradley Cooper's ex-girlfriend.

Unfortunately, despite being billed as one of the stars of the show, you only need one hand to count the number of minutes Vikander actually appears onscreen, and her minimal presence does little to impact the movie aside from making Cooper's character feel a tinge of regret. On the bright side, her brief screen time means Vikander is most definitely not to blame for the film's disappointing reviews.

Jason Bourne (2016)

2016 saw Alicia Vikander continue her rise to mainstream stardom with her portrayal of CIA Cyber Ops Division head Heather Lee in the Bourne series' fifth installment, Jason Bourne.

As it turns out, she was a longtime fan of the franchise. "I was a teenager when I saw the first film," she told the Independent, "and, in terms of blockbusters, kind of grew up watching Bond movies. For me, Bourne was just something completely new and I think over the years a lot of films have copied the franchise and its muted authenticity." Having performed in many notable independent films, she appreciated the blockbuster approach on its own merits. "Even if it is a popcorn franchise movie," she added, "it's intriguing because it has elements of political and social issues that you recognize and yet is still very entertaining."

Unfortunately, Bourne's return failed to live up to its predecessors, earning average reviews. In spite of all the action, Vikander's butterfly hair clip ended up being one of the film's main talking points.

The Light Between Oceans (2016)

After playing a department head at the CIA, Vikander returned to period fare, starring as Isabel Graysmark Sherbourne in Derek Cianfrance's film adaptation of the romantic drama The Light Between Oceans.

Vikander's onscreen romance with co-star Michael Fassbender immediately led to popular speculation that they were having an offscreen romance, although neither actor would confirm the rumors. "We've done this film and we're talking about it," she told The New York Times. "Then you keep certain things private and between us, which I think is the right thing." Fassbender also added: "Our work is something that we're very committed to, but also our private lives."

Since filming The Light Between Oceans, the pair's private romance has been a hot topic for tabloids, and they've since become one of Hollywood's more popular 'it' couples.

Tulip Fever (2017)

In 2017, Vikander returned to period drama as Sophia Sandvoort in director Justin Chadwick's film adaptation of the Deborah Moggach bestseller Tulip Fever.

Despite arriving in theaters in September 2017, the movie was actually filmed in in 2014—and as is the case with most heavily delayed projects, it earned dismal reviews. It's Vikander's worst-reviewed movie to date, but there's no reason to fear it'll tarnish her reputation. The first film that was, in the words of the director, built around the rising star, it led to Vikander landing on the front of ELLE's September 2017 issue.

There should be no shortage of magazine covers in her future, either. With a full docket of high-profile releases on the horizon—including that Tomb Raider reboot, scheduled to arrive in theaters in March of 2018—we've only seen the start of what promises to be a long and fascinating film career.