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‘Tomb Raider’ star Walton Goggins talks Alicia Vikander fight scenes

The actor plays Lara Croft’s island-stranded foe in the movie.

Alicia Vikander stars opposite Walton Goggins in

Alicia Vikander stars opposite Walton Goggins in "Tomb Raider." Photo Credit: Graham Bartholomew / Warner Bros. Pictures

He’s been consistently gracing screens for nearly 30 years, but it seems as if Walton Goggins has recently leveled-up.

Goggins is front and center in “Tomb Raider,” out Friday, as Mathias Vogel — Lara Croft’s (Alicia Vikander) island-stranded foe.

Viewers will be seeing more of the “Justified” and “The Hateful Eight” actor on both small and silver screens following this blockbuster — he’s set to star in CBS’ upcoming “L.A. Confidential” series, and will appear in Marvel’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp,” out this summer.

amNewYork recently chatted with Goggins, 46, about fighting Vikander and finding sympathy for the bad guy.

Had you seen the previous “Tomb Raider” movies before you got involved with this?

I didn’t see either film and I never played the video game. I didn’t either when [I got this role], because I felt like this story needed a person at the table that wasn’t encumbered by the mythology of this game. And I knew there would be enough people in the room that would protect that for the fans. But I judged this by one criteria and one criteria only, and that is how good is the story … and be as truthful to Vogel as I could, as I understood his reality. I think he is a person who is isolated and alone, and exhausted and sad. And then the answer to a prayer that he had stopped praying so long ago shows up.

You have played many marvelous villains on screen. What is your approach in terms of seeking out the humanity in these characters?

I think if you walk a mile in another person’s shoes, whether real or imagined, that you can’t help but see the world from their point of view. I think that’s what, in 2018, is so often lacking in discourse in general. I’ve been given an opportunity to play these characters over the course of my career and I just try to tell their story as truthfully as possible.

What was it like shooting fight scenes with Alicia?

She trusts me, and I trust her. We are, certainly by that point in this movie, we are very good friends. We were acquaintances before this movie started. I’ve known her socially for a while but we became very good friends by that point in the story. We had come that far, that the trick was figuring out how to tell this story and be truthful to the physical capabilities of these two people.

With our director Roar [Uthaug] and our producer Graham [King], we really figured out how would she really win, how would this really go down.

This is a person who uses her physical capabilities and her brains and she’s up against this person who is just ready to [expletive] go home. ... So, we left there exhausted every day.

You’ve got a lot going on work-wise right now. Do you feel like your career has entered a new chapter with these high-profile roles? Is there anything you attribute that to?

I measure my life before working with Quentin Tarantino and after working with Quentin Tarantino, although I’ve been around for a very long time. My career has been one of one foot in front of the other and to just be truthful and present in this moment. What happens next is what’s supposed to happen next. I feel no differently today than I felt yesterday. I’m just trying to do the best job I can and see where that leads me. ... I’m 27 years into this experience of being able to provide for my family and I’m grateful I still get a chance to do it.

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