When Lara starts smashing the clock with a hammer, Hillary (the butler) uses a silver tray to protect his face. This is a reference to the games, in which, while exploring Croft Manor, the player can shoot at the butler, who then also uses the tray he's carrying around to protect himself.
Filming the scenes where Lara drives her Land Rover through the jungle there had to be endless re-shoots due to snakes and other wildlife falling through the open top roof. Angelina Jolie herself was reported to be terrified.
Towards the end of the film when Lara finds a bunch of wolves, she says "A-ha!" This was a link to the original games where Lara would use this phrase whenever she picked up an item.
Lara Croft's father was played by Angelina Jolie's real-life father, Jon Voight. Angelina Jolie's birth name is Angelina Jolie Voight.
Angelina Jolie did her own bungee-ballet, and according to an interview with her on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) , injured her ankle on the first take when landing on top of a chandelier went bad, so that part of the scene had to be done over again after she recovered.
The gun that Daniel Craig uses in the Tomb of the Dancing Light is a Walther PPK, the signature weapon of James Bond. He wielded this weapon again as 007 in Casino Royale (2006).
In the much-shown previews, at one point, Lara (Angelina Jolie) says to Powell (Iain Glen) "You might try to kill me." Powell replies that he "would never kill a lady." She replies archly "I said you'd try." That exchange doesn't appear in the final cut.
Angelina Jolie agreed to do the first film because of all the locations she would get to visit. She fell in love with Cambodia, leading her to move there and help with a minefield cleanup. It was also where she met and eventually adopted her first son, Maddox.
Lara Croft is English and Alex West is American. However, Angelina Jolie is American, and Daniel Craig is English.
Lara never wounds or kills anyone with a gun in this movie, except when she uses the gun to hit one of the robbers in the head while she rides past.
Angelina Jolie received weapons training from an instructor of the S.A.S., the United Kingdom's elite special forces, to prepare herself for the role.
Alex West (Daniel Craig) was originally named "Alex Mars", but because the name hadn't been cleared by the legal department, it couldn't be used. Director Simon West decided to name the character "Alex West", after his father, since he knew, that if needed, he could get legal clearance for the name.
This film marks the first time in more than three decades that a Hollywood production has been filmed in Cambodia, the previous film being Lord Jim (1965).
Angelina Jolie was extremely hesitant towards wearing Lara's famous short shorts that she wears in the games, and the opening fight scene with Simon. However, she eventually agreed, because she knew it would make the fans of the character happy.
Angelina Jolie had lessons in yoga and kickboxing to prepare for her role as Lara Croft. She also learned how to handle weapons.
Lara has been given several gadgets in the film, which are specific nods at certain gameplay features of the Tomb Raider games. Amongst them, the reloader belt or back pack (allowing her to reload her guns very quickly, and without fidgeting about with clips or bullets) and the back pack itself (which almost mysteriously "swallows" any item moved close to its bottom or side by Lara, like the first half of the Triangle).
Angelina Jolie stated in an interview that she kept Lara's holsters, and has them at home.
In the video game, Lara Croft is a 36DD. Angelina Jolie is naturally a 36C, and was padded to a 36D for the movie, as it was felt that padding to the original character size would be too unrealistic.
The temple on the hill in Cambodia, at which Lara lands, is Phnom Bakheng, which is just outside the South Gate of the city of Angkor Thom. Next, when we see her drive her Land Rover, Lara is at Bayon, at the center of Angkor Thom. The temple with trees overgrown on it, where Lara falls into the hidden tomb, is Ta Prohm.
At the time of filming, Angelina Jolie sported a large tattoo on her upper left arm. Make-up was used to cover the tattoo, but one can see where the tattoo has been covered up in several scenes, particularly the shower scene.
Many of Lara's action moves are known and loved by any aficionados of the video games. Drawing weapons mid-somersault, swallow dives into water, forward rolls to reverse direction, are signature moves of the experienced player.
Angelina Jolie took drug tests to test her mental well-being during filming, due to concerns about the rumors of drug use, and her relationship with Billy Bob Thornton.
The filmmakers, at first, envisioned the scenes ultimately shot in Cambodia taking place at the Great Wall of China. When the schedule didn't allow for this to happen, the alternative was to build the Great Wall in Scotland. Ultimately, they opted for the stone temples of Cambodia instead.
The Illuminati is reported to be a real-life secret society with origins dating back to at least the 1700s, though it is a matter of debate whether it still exists. Many books, factual, fiction, or science fiction novels, have been written about this legendary group, the best known being the "Illuminatus!" trilogy by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson.
The monkeys Lara fights are modelled after the ones at Banteay Srei, a temple located far from Angkor Wat. They are the guardians of the door.
The music played while the explorers are in the Siberian village, and then on the sleds, is Tuvan throat singing.
The rather odd looking record player, shown for a brief second, when she is doing her bungee ballet in her house, is a Clear, Audio Master Reference Table. It comes all gold plated, and retails for $27,000 U.S.
The film helped transform Angelina Jolie into a Hollywood superstar and as a female action star.
It was filmed at Pinewood Studios in England, where some of the James Bond films were made.
Martin Clunes was originally asked to play Lara's butler, but filming dates clashed with his wedding anniversary (he makes a special point of never working on his anniversary), so he turned it down. The part was eventually taken by Chris Barrie.
Originally, Lara (Angelina Jolie) was going to be naked in the shower scene, similar to the epilogue of the video game sequel, but the idea was dropped, in order to avoid an R-rating. So the film could secure a PG-13 rating instead, only her side boobs are seen. In the behind scenes making of "Digging Into Tomb Raider", a glimpse of additional shower scene with Lara is shown where she is showering somewhere outside near some trees or plants, but this was cut from the film. September 2000 magazine article by Jeannette Walls reported how a nude model was used as Jolie's body double for her nude shower scenes and one where she throws her towel away after showering, but all the nudity with the double was cut for rating.
Denise Richards, Charlize Theron, Uma Thurman, and Liv Tyler turned down the role of Lara Croft.
James Bond actor Daniel Craig stars as Alex West. The James Bond films were one of the influences behind the Tomb Raider video games, on which the films are based.
At one point, Demi Moore was widely reported to have been in consideration for the role of Lara Croft.
Simon West turned down the chance of directing Black Hawk Down (2001) to make this movie.
The gun used by Powell's villains is the H&K G36k, the shortened carbine version of the G36 assault rifle. Both are in use with the German Army.
Natalie Cassidy auditioned for the role of Croft, but was "literally laughed out of the office" by Angelina Jolie and several others.
Executive producer Stuart Baird did uncredited re-editing work on this film and Mission: Impossible II (2000) for Paramount Pictures, in exchange for the job of directing Star Trek: Nemesis (2002).
Hillary, Lara's butler, is much younger than the elderly butler that appears in the games (Tomb Raider II, III and Chronicles).
Stephen Herek was originally supposed to direct, but he dropped out to make Rock Star (2001) instead.
5 years after the film's release, Daniel Craig became the 6th actor to play James Bond in the reboot Casino Royale (2006). The James Bond movies were one of the influences behind the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider video game.
Elizabeth Hurley, Sandra Bullock, Ashley Judd, Christina Applegate, Drew Barrymore, Cameron Diaz, Nicole Eggert, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Anna Nicole Smith were considered for the role of Lara Croft.
Daniel Craig declined to return for the sequel and opted to do The Mother (2003) instead.
Paramount also received input from Core Design on casting. Rumored actresses included Pamela Anderson, Demi Moore, Jeri Ryan and Carla Pivonski.
When the Tomb Raiders invade Siberia, they're flying in a pair of CH-46 Chinook helicopters, the only twin rotor helicopter in the U.S. arsenal (long since abandoned). Some services list it as a CH-46, while others list it as an MH-46.
Reunites Daniel Craig with Julian Rhind-Tutt. They played together previously in Sword of Honour (2001) and The Trench (1999).