Eidos Interactive, one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, can today confirm that the new voice of Lara Croft is leading British actress Keeley Hawes. Keeley, best known for her role of three years as ZoŽ Reynolds in BBC's flagship drama Spooks and recently seen in Michael Winterbottom's feature Cock and Bull Story, took to the part of Lady Lara Croft, 11th generation Countess, effortlessly.
"Lara Croft is such a strong and powerful character, but she also has an edge to her, which was great to portray vocally. Lara is getting up to all sorts of trouble in Legend, I am sure the fans won't be disappointed!"
"Keeley is perfect for the voice of Lara" said Matt Gorman, Brand Controller for the Tomb Raider series, "she had the right balance of aristocracy and attitude to really bring to life Miss Croft in all her glory."
Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend is the seventh title to be released in the Tomb Raider series, which originally launched in November of 1996, and is still one of the best selling videogame franchises of all time with over 28 million copies sold.
Lara Croft has transcended games in a way no other character has, including action figures, comic books and two major motion pictures starring Angelina Jolie.
Jonell Elliot lent her voice to Core Design by playing ardent adventurer Lara Croft. She voiced over the character of Lara Croft in The Last Revelation, Tomb Raider Chronicles and The Angel Of Darkness.
Raider Chronicles caught up with Jonell in November 2002 and put to her the question on the lips of Tomb Raider fans everywhere - who is Lara Croft?
The full interview with Jonell Elliot can be found HERE and exclusive recording pictures of Jonell and Joss Ackland can be found above.
JONELL ELLIOT - THE VOICE OF LARA CROFT
Core Design has secured the vocal talents of some of today's most explosive actors, including stage and screen veteran Sir Anthony Hopkins, for voice-over roles performing characters from the latest Tomb Raider adventure Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness. We sensationally reveal the answer to the question on the lips of Tomb Raider fans across the globe. Who is the new Lara Croft?
Tomb Raider Chronicles caught up with experienced voice-over artist and actress Jonell Elliot and quizzed her on her role as Britain's most potent female videogame export to date and confirm her return as the electrically charged voice of Lara Croft. Check out our exclusive interview below:
Q: Hello Jonell. Thank you for taking the time to answers our questions. Our leading questing is on your identity, which so far has been shrouded in mystery. Who are you? Have you done voice-over work before? Have you performed on-screen or on-stage before? If so, in what productions?
My name is Jonell Elliott and I am an experienced voice-over artist and actress. My voice-over credits include commercials for Wella, Oil of Olay, Macdonald's, Loot, Nescafe, Dover Court, BU Perfume, Daily Mail, Lloyds bank, Sony, Natwest, Natural plus and many more. I've been a regular on Disney, Living and Cartoon Network promos and very popular on CD-Rom games such as The Island of Doctor Moreau and City Of The Lost Children. I have also voiced a few cartoon series such as Enigma and Angelina Ballerina for ITV. Visually I was a regular in Grange Hill (BBC), Family Affairs, (Channel 5), Second Sight (BBC), and Beer Goggles, which is a film for Channel 4. I've also appeared in Elvis The Musical in the West End (1996) and performed at the Edinburgh Festival in A Brief Affair.
Q: In less than three months, hundreds of thousands of Tomb Raider fans will be hearing your voice as Lara Croft. How does that make you feel? Were you nervous when you first began recording?
Well obviously it's been very exciting and a huge honour to record the voice of the character Lara Croft for the game Tomb Raider, over the past few years. I've voiced Lara on Tomb Raider 4, 5 and 6: The Angel of Darkness, so I'm pretty comfortable in her skin right now. As for being nervous I find whenever I'm recording I so thoroughly enjoy the experience that I find no time to get nervous.
Q: As you are aware, the Tomb Raider phenomenon is one of this generations most potent franchises. Why do you think Lara Croft has captured the imagination of fans across the world?
I believe that Lara has become such the star she is today because of the positive image that she portrays. Obviously the world was ready for a strong, intellectual female adventurer - especially a girl with such attitude.
: Were you familiar with the Tomb Raider series before taking on the role of Lara Croft? If so, what Tomb Raider games have you played? Did you complete any?
Of course I was aware of the huge success of Tomb Raider and on occasion I've tried playing all the Tomb Raider games except of course The Angel of Darkness. I'm afraid to say I've never completed any of them, but just voicing the character of Lara Croft makes me feel I've experienced lots of adventures already.
Q: What tips did you receive to portray the Lara Croft character?
I was fortunate enough to have the voice they were looking for, and of course the first title I was involved with - The Last Revelation - featured Lara's 16-year-old voice, which I was also capable of producing.
Q: What aspect of recording did you enjoy the most?
Interacting with all other actors who played the other various roles.
Q: What aspect of recording did you find the most difficult?
There wasn't anything in particular that I found difficult.
Q: Do you have a particular favourite Lara Croft catchphrase or dialogue?
There are so many great scenes and characters it's too difficult to make a choice, but I just love her quick wit and sarcasm.
Q: Where would you like to see your Lara Croft outtakes?
They are all in a secret vault somewhere, never to be heard!
Q: Do you want to buy them back? :)
Not in my lifetime!!
Q: If this were your first voice-over project, would you consider doing it again?
As you can see it's not my first job, but I was delighted to be offered the voice of Lara Croft and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. It has been a pleasure working with Core Design, Eidos and everyone else involved.
Q: Have you recorded for all three Tomb Raider The Angel Of Darkness episodes or just the Feb 2003 release? What do you think of the "epic scale" storyline?
Q: Well as you can imagine I can't give too much away, needless to say though - I don't think you've heard the last of me yet!
Q: Now you've finished recording for Core Design, will you be available for weddings, Bar mitzvahs or premium rate telephone work as the character of Lara Croft? :)
That side of the business is dealt with by my agent, but all things are considered...
The person behind the voice of Lara Croft is Judith Gibbins. Originally from Derbyshire she had no idea how big the Tomb Raider series would be. Judith, 36, doesn't have much in common with her other half, Lara Croft.
Lara has guns and runs people over with a snowmobile, while Judith drives a Ford Sierra and her best weapon is her wit. Judith, of Ilkeston, Derbyshire, preserves Lara's image by never making a personal appearance.
"The following in the US is incredible," she said. "People believe she exists. In Atlanta I did a voice-calibrated question-and-answer session, with me sitting behind a screen showing a digital image of Lara. The most common questions were 'Will you marry me?' and 'Can I have a date?'"
Judith had a limited script in the earlier versions of the game, her biggest line probably being the phrase most feared by devotees: "No, that's not right. Go back to the beginning and try again."
But she has much more to say in Tomb Raider III, which features lengthy dialogue sequences between each of its 21 levels. Core Design spokesman, Susie Hamilton said: "We wanted an upper-class accent with character, a strong but sweet voice. Judith's was just right."
While her 11-year-old son David attempts to master Lara's moves on his Playstation, Judith still has a tough time proving her Lara link. "She has such a sexy image that people don't believe me when I say I'm her," she said. "I have to say something to convince them. 'Go back to the beginning and try again' has become a party-piece."
Note: Still my favorite Lara voice
THE VOICE OF LARA - SHELLEY BLOND -TR I
Craig note: Currently, there are no photos of Shelly Blond. Oppurtunities for voice and TV work have been few and far between since her TR I voice debut. Shelley is still a fan favorite as Lara's voice. We miss you!
The original person behind the voice of Lara Croft was Shelley Blond in Tomb Raider. Shelley's picture has been an elusive treasure hunt for many years. Here are her current achievements. The hunt for Shelley's picture goes on...and I will find it!
I found this on a UK video game review of Legend:
"When the Tomb Raider franchise first began, the brief words - sometimes just "No" as the latest key you found didn't fit the lock in front of you - were spoken by Shelley Blond, last seen on TV in the first episode of the last series of Channel 4's Peep Show, being dumped by Jeremy until she gave in to accepting a threesome. For Legend, Lara has a lot more to say and is voiced by Keeley Hawes (aka Zoe in BBC1's Spooks, right)."
Update! I have found a few pictures of her, singing along with Jonell Elliot!
Lottie Mayor, Shelley Blond, and Jonell Elliot