Wu wowed by Vikander's muscly Lara Croft
Hong Kong star says Swedish actress was 'in shape and ready' for role as iconic video game character
When Daniel Wu first met his co-star - Alicia Vikander - for the upcoming Tomb Raider film,he was impressed.
The 1.66m Swedish actress had gained 7kg of muscle for her role as iconic heroine Lara Croft.
Wu, 43, known for appearances in Hong Kong movies such as New Police Story, has only praise for Vikander.
The 29-year-old actress, who won an Academy Award in 2016 for Best Supporting Actress in The Danish Girl is, in Wu's words, a "powerhouse".
He said: "She really took the bull by the horns... When I arrived in South Africa, she was in shape and ready."
Wu, who produces and stars in Into The Badlands, was offered the part of Lu Ren, Lara's companion, when the second season of the US martial arts drama wrapped last year.
He was immediately drawn to the script. "I really liked the direction the story was going in. It is an intimate story. It is an origin story of Lara Croft," he said.
Tomb Raider, a popular video game-turned-movie franchise, has already seen one iteration of its protagonist in Angelina Jolie, who played the character twice in film adaptations in 2001 and 2003.
But Wu, who has played the video games and watched the previous adaptations, thinks the latest movie is distinct from the previous ones.
He said: "In the Angelina Jolie series, when we meet her, she is already strong and powerful. But here, she is just a young, unsure girl who grows into the Lara Croft we know."
The action adventure, which opens here on March 8, sees a 21-year-old Lara working as a poor bike courier. Determined to forge her own path, she refuses to take the reins of her father's global empire just as staunchly as she rejects the idea that he is truly gone.
Lu Ren is an integral part of Lara's journey as they set off to discover what happened to their fathers - both disappeared on the same expedition. But the two are not lovers, Wu added.
"One of the things I liked about the movie is how there is no sexual tension. They're just two young people who have parallel stories," said Wu, who is married to supermodel Lisa S.
They have a four-year-old daughter, Raven, who Wu says loved the (Tomb Raider) trailer.
He said: "And the braid that Alicia has in the movie? She braids her hair the same way."
Although Wu admits that his daughter might be too young to watch the movie, he welcomes strong female role models on the big screen. Movies such as the Ghostbusters reboot, Wonder Woman and most recently Black Panther, are headlined by women or depict women in powerful roles. This comes as Hollywood grapples with the issue of equal representation on film. Lu Ren, for example, is a part made for an Asian man.
Wu said: "It is great. It is a very different time from 20 years ago when Hollywood movies catered only to the American market. Now they market to the world. And the power in Hollywood is shifting as well from white men in their 60s to people in their 40s who grew up in a more diverse America."
Wu's foray into Hollywood has received support from his wife, who recently shared on Instagram a Tomb Raider poster featuring her hubby.
The secret to their marriage?
He said: "It is just mutual respect for each other and for what we do."