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Today In Extremely Appropriate Hiring Choices: Buffy Scribe To Pen Tomb Raider Movie

That’s another box Marti Noxon can check off on her “awesome female characters I’ve written” Bingo card.

Last we heard of the new Tomb Raider movie there was no talent attached, either on the cast or crew end, but production company GK Films’ partnership with MGM raised our hopes that the film might not languish in development hell for too long. Now it looks like our hopes have been confirmed, as Marti Noxon, a writer/producer with an extensive list of credits but who will always be associated with Buffy the Vampire Slayer in our hearts, has signed on to rewrite the script.

What we know about the film from producer Graham King is that it will be “the story before she became Lara Croft” and as such will be less tied in with the previous two movies than with the recent video game reboot. A previous incarnation of the script was written by Iron Man scribes Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus, but that was way back before MGM got involved, so it’s not surprising they’ve gone with a new writer. In addition to her work on Buffy Noxon wrote 2011′s Fright Night remake and franchise-starter wannabe I Am Number Four.

There’s no word yet on whether Susana’s wish of Lara Croft video game writer Rhianna Pratchett being brought on to consult will come true, though that would certainly be cool. What do you think of Noxon’s hiring?

(via: SuperHeroHype)

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  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    I’m torn. Noxon’s writing on BTVS was my least favoruite, but this is still good news.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    Oh…I thought you meant Joss Whedon and I thought, “…does he know anything about Tomb Raider?” Then I thought, “What’s to know?”

  • Anonymous

    That is what I was going to comment. Noxon’s writing on BTVS was my least favorite. “Party of Five but with Monsters.” If Tomb Raider is “Party of Five but with treasure,” I’ll definitely pass. I’m just interested in having a good heroic action fantasy with a kickass woman saving all the things, beating up all the things, and being awesome and strong in personality and capability.

  • Anonymous

    Frankly, I’d be fine with taking the actual video game we just got this year, turning the game script into a screenplay, and filming that.

    Of course, this is also about how I feel about the Uncharted movies.

  • Mina

    I would kind of like that, but also kind of not because I’d like to see new things rather than the same thing I just played. Then again, I do watch multiple movie adaptations of the same books, so maybe it would be just fine.

  • Thomas Hayes

    Hmmm. How to express my feelings about this…

    She wrote some really good episodes of BTVS. She also wrote a few subpar ones and was left with the unenviable task of holding the reins while Whedon spread himself over Angel and Firefly too, with mixed results.

    On the other hand, Joss wasn’t beyond a few cock-ups himself and he’s done reasonably well for himself in recent years – and if I was looking for someone to write a Tomb Raider film that isn’t just action fluff (like the first two) I think you could do worse than look for someone close to the Buffy series too, so either Noxon or Espenson seem like the most logical choices. That’s even before you take into account that having a woman be the writer of a film with a female protagonist might not be a bad idea.

    So, I guess I’d mark this up as A Good Thing.

  • Jesse

    all i have to say is: name one video game turned into a good movie

    FYI good does not mean “enjoyable because you like the game and/or the movie is hilariously bad”

  • Ruby Dynamite

    Ugh. I thought the Tomb Raider reboot game was bad enough, with its fetishization of Lara’s suffering (oh, look! her face is even more expressive, so you can better revel in her lifelike misery and terror! we also have to make her younger and, naturally, sound younger and more fragile, so you – as the manly player – will want to ‘protect her’, nevermind that she’s been protecting herself for over a decade), but now they’ve hired Marti Noxon to write the movie!?

    Yep. Basically washing my hands of the franchise for the next few years until *somebody* can pull their head out of their ass and get a clue that it’s not simply enough for a game studio to give lip-service to a female character supposedly being ‘strong’, she has to actually BE STRONG. Also, she has to have enough freaking sense – as an archaeology student up to her neck in higher education – to find something to freaking cover herself with when she’s cold.

    Marti Noxon completely screwed up Buffy as a series because she couldn’t divorce her own mental and emotional issues stemming from a failed relationship years before from a relationship between two fictional characters (she admitted to bringing her personal crap into the show – which led to the ridiculous, out-of-character fiasco that was Seeing Red). She took a super-powered Slayer and gave her a ‘shoulder injury’ that, any other season, Buffy would have (and had) shrugged off, no problem – instead, she’s the poor, injured bird who can’t defend herself against the eeeeeeeeevil vampire who just can’t take no for an answer – I’m sorry, the whole thing was just insulting, with how obvious they were being about being desperate to make Buffy a victim — and now Marti’s wanting to do it to Lara Croft, even though Crystal Dynamics have already done a bang-up job (quite literally) with the reboot game — color me shocked. Considering the studio and the writer, I will be absolutely amazed if Lara doesn’t actually wind up getting raped and/or beated beyond recognition during the movie. God, this whole thing makes me feel ill.

    There’s something seriously wrong with Marti Noxon. She needs to stop writing and get some therapy.

  • LifeLessons

    Unfortunately Marti Noxon has a very sadistic bent and I am none too happy about her writing anything for Tomb Raider. However, we shall see and I do hope it is good.

  • Anonymous

    Honestly, part of why I liked the Tomb Raider reboot was that we got to see Lara build that strength. You literally *hear* the change in her voice as she unlocks new skills and finds new weapons. She adapts, she overcomes her fear of the situation, and as she grows more confident (and more capable of destroying the enemy) she becomes a figure inspiring terror in the cultists.

    By the end of the game, you can sneak up on guards who will be speaking in hushed, terrified whispers about ‘her’, and some will lose their nerve and flee when faced with Lara. The original situation is entirely inverted; instead of the helpless captive they were seeking at the beginning, she’s become the bogeyman *they* fear. Moreover, the other survivors go from thinking she’s just this little girl, why should they listen to her, to slowly realizing she’s not the same Lara they knew anymore, and eventually deferring to her leadership.

    Just from a pure storytelling standpoint, it was one of the most smooth and believable transitions from ‘I am so in over my head, and scared about that’ to ‘I am going to kick ALL of your asses’ I’d seen, be it in game, movie or book.

    I grant, however, that doesn’t really start to kick in more noticeably until you reach the mountain village (and moreso when it becomes blatantly clear how much Lara has changed when she does rejoin the other survivors on the beach), and so the early bits of the game were more than a little uncomfortable. But as I got further in, I felt like the character development probably would not have worked as effectively without that beginning.

    Of course, that’s just my opinion as a gamer and storyteller; tastes and mileage may vary, obviously. :)

  • Anonymous

    Friendly reminder that Marti Noxon’s ‘controversial’ stint on Buffy was 10 FREAKING YEARS AGO and maybe we should give her a break.

    I dunno, seems a long time to hold a grudge.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    I have to agree with some other reviews I’ve seen — at first, Lara’s apologizing to a *deer* because she has to kill it to feed herself, then she shoots a guy and is literally *bawling on her hands and knees in the dirt* and no more than 20 minutes later, she’s shooting people in the head and garotting people with her bow. That’s not character development. That’s what the studios like to call character development, but that’s basically words falling out of their mouths that they know will stop people from asking the hard questions – like, how do you explain this ridiculous bullshit?

    In an action movie, that might be considered ‘character development’, but it’s not. Not by a long shot. Lara deserved better than the video game equivalent of ‘wimpy girl turns into hot and awesome badass before our very eyes’ cheesecakey musical montage.

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    I’m going to assume that most people are more hesitant about watching the work of someone they didn’t enjoy in the past, opposed to holding a grudge.

  • Travis

    “Mixed results” is being generous. I’m still reluctant to acknowledge that Seasons 6 and 7 exist.

  • Thomas Hayes

    Perhaps. I re-watched the entire show recently and was surprised by how much less frustrated I was by Season 6 this time around. The tone of the series had shifted a long way from the slightly cheesy first season to darker, more melodramatic themes which gave a very intense (and fairly well received) Season 5, and I feel like Season 6 managed to carry that on and to some extent make the melodrama work thanks to most of the plots being about the core characters. It didn’t wear me down like it did the first time – that said I’d still take any of the more optimistic first three Seasons over S6 any day.

    My real problem however was always with Season 7 and that hadn’t changed. It starts off as if it’s going to build its way out of the deep emotional trough of the previous two seasons, lighten back up again and gradually move toward a big series-ending climax – unfortunately after about five or six episodes it’s back down again, and although there are some good bits of dialogue writing for the most part, solid performances from the main cast and a good arc for Spike at least, the series just feels like its run out of momentum as it gets bogged down with too large a supporting cast and sends some of our beloved main characters down roads we’d rather they avoided. Sure, if Whedon and Noxon wanted the audience to be as exhausted as Buffy is by the end, I guess they succeeded, but after Season 5 and Season 6 I’d rather the show had gone out on a high note. At least the final episode, written and directed by Whedon himself, did actually do that.

    If Buffy had ended either at the close of Season 3 or Season 5 I’d probably look back on it even more fondly than I do today.

  • James Amaral

    Now bring us Sarah Michelle Prinze as Lara Croft.

  • Hannele Kormano

    Until very recently, you used to be able to say the same thing about comic book movies – video game movies just need a similar amount of time and luck to transcend the easy cash-grab.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    Oh good goddess NO!

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    You and I clearly didn’t play the same game. Because I saw NONE of the in Tomb Raider. I saw a somewhat pampered young woman tossed into hell and coming out forged into a fa stronger person than most male leads. You seem WAY too focused on her character at the start of the game, to the detriment of the character she evolved into. NO ONE is just automatically strong and confidant. Her characterization was *GASP!!!* realistic! HOW DARE THEY???? I somehow highly doubt you’d be a stoic killing machine if you found yourself dropped into such a situation. The game is a milestone in showing for once a woman getting realistic character development showing an evolution from scared, confused and desperate to strong confidant take-no-sh*t badass.

    As for your insipidly asinine “cover up” statement? Lots of random stray unused jackets laying around in your local jungle environment are there?

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    Sorry but if I was lost in a jungle and had to kill a deer to eat, I’d apologize to it as well. You have a frighteningly cold and cynical worldview. As for killing people 20 minutes later? The deer wasn’t trying to kill HER. The people WERE. You’d be amazed what a person can bring themselves to do when their life is in danger. And you’re forgetting it IS a videogame and you kinda HAVE to kill enemies to advance the game.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    Silent Hill.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    “I saw a somewhat pampered young woman tossed into hell and coming out forged into a fa stronger person than most male leads.”

    Good for you – you’re saying the exact same things that the developers said. Still doesn’t make it any more the truth, however.

    “You seem WAY too focused on her character at the start of the game, to the detriment of the character she evolved into.”

    If you can call a character who kills a deer and then, 20 minutes later, turns into Rambo with tits, shooting arrows and garrotting people with her bow ‘evolved’. The original Lara had to use her brain and only used violence when she had no other option. Here, you start out with what seems like options and those are taken away, leaving only kill or die scenarios that – if you opt for anything but ‘kill’ (or whatever QTE they throw at you), you wiind up with your head getting smooshed by boulders and getting your throat torn out while you hang from the ceiling like poultry.

    “NO ONE is just automatically strong and confidant. Her characterization was *GASP!!!* realistic! HOW DARE THEY????”

    LOL That heap of shit is about as far from realistic as you can get. And, no, no one starts out strong and confident, BUT — starting out as a mewling baby sobbing on her hands and knees on the ground, shivering like a drenched kitten by a fire, and then blowing a guy’s brains out? IS NOT REALISTIC. Nor is it anything approaching realistic character development. It’s obvious Crystal Dynamics wanted to get to ‘the fun stuff’ which is Lara kicking ass – HOWEVER – they skipped all the essential elements to making it believable. You don’t have her apologizing to deer, weeping like a toddler over a man she killed in self defense, and then have her – later on – chasing people down, screaming about how she’s going to ‘get them’. Not only is it not realistic, it seriously makes Lara seem like she’s losing her mind or has some kind of chemical imbalance.

    I somehow highly doubt you’d be a stoic killing machine if you found yourself dropped into such a situation. The game is a milestone in showing for once a woman getting realistic character development showing an evolution from scared, confused and desperate to strong confidant take-no-sh*t badass.

    As for your insipidly asinine “cover up” statement? Lots of random stray unused jackets laying around in your local jungle environment are there?

    “As for your insipidly asinine “cover up” statement? Lots of random stray unused jackets laying around in your local jungle environment are there?”

    I find it ironic that you’d consider MY comment about her being smart enough to put something on if she’s cold ‘insipid’. The fucking boat wrecked, you idiot – there were plenty of people on the boat, along with their possessions. Every shipwreck movie ever made shows steam trunks and other items washing up on the shore. So it would have been exceedingly easy for her to find something in the wreckage, hang it up to dry, and have something to protect herself not only from cold, but also animals, brambles, and sunburn to name just a few.

    There’s that saying — that some people don’t know enough to come in out of the rain. Apparently this Lara doesn’t know enough to put clothes on when she’s cold. But then, that’s kinda the whole point — otherwise she doesn’t get to shiver prettily and pathetically for the male gamer.

    Shame on you for defending this dreck.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    Actually, no – I don’t have a “frighteningly cold or cynical worldview”, but thanks for the weak-ass attempt at ad hominem.

    I have a realistic worldview and the worldview of someone who’s been a fan of Lara’s for a very long time as well as the worldview of a person who’s been a writer for over 20 years and who knows how to tell a fucking story. The bullshit they get up to in this reboot? Is not how you tell a story.

    And I’m not “forgetting” anything — the point is, IF they wanted to make this game ‘realistic’, as you keep insisting it is, despite obvious proof to the contrary, then they would have shown a more gradual progression in her methods. Yes, she kills the deer because she needs food, but she does NOT, in fact, have to kill ANYONE to advance. What it takes in order to advance is decided by the game designers and as we’ve seen with games like Dishonored, it is possible and sometimes even preferable to use the non-violent/no-kill approach. So, rather than having her immediately go from deer to shooting men in the head — she has the gradual progression of options, depending on the enemy. So let’s say she tries to subdue them in a non-violent fashion and they get away, then things can progress to the point where she has to kill them, lest the bad guy escaping has the potential to warn nearby friends.

    If you want to make it realistic, that’s how you do it. Because nobody is going to jump straight to killing humans after killing a wild animal with ease, unless they’re sociopaths.

    As it is, this was a mish-mash clod of almost every kind of ‘action-adventure’ mechanic for all the games from the last 2 or 3 years. Not to mention they made the fucking tombs OPTIONAL. This isn’t Tomb Raider. This is Laura Craft — some random chick running around in the woods with only the most passing resemblance to the Lara Croft fans of the original games came to know and love.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    Nah, I’m holding a grudge. Marti Noxon ruined Buffy, for me. All this latest pick proves is that she still likes the idea of getting to torment women on screen, which… yeah, kinda justifies my grudge and proves my point all at the same time, I think.

  • Anonymous

    Meh. It’s kind of like Avatar: The Last Airbender movie – if you’ve never seen/played the series, you could like the movie an average amount.

    If you’ve ever played SH 1-4, then the movie is just painful to watch.

  • Mina

    I can’t say I have a problem with them making her sound younger and more fragile since this is supposed to be her first life-threatening adventure. I also can’t say I have a problem with her not magically finding a jacket when she was cold, since she was washed pretty much thrown out of the boat with no time to grab anything and then immediately kidnapped and trapped in a cultist cave. I mean, yes they could have had her have more time to get stuff off the boat or something, but I was perfectly happy with the way they did it. As for actually making her strong instead of just giving her lip service, she seemed plenty strong to me. Yes, initially she was scared, cold, and injured. But for me at least it came across as the story of a woman who was always a very strong person and just never realized it until she was faced with a really dangerous situation.

    Anyway, I enjoyed the game, including Lara’s characterization. Sorry you did not. Different strokes, I guess.

  • Travis

    Still mad about Firefly. Still mad about Farscape. Still mad about Buffy. :p

  • Anonymous

    Not sure I feel anything good about that new movie, considering how bad the first two were and we’re sure to get some teenage “actress” in the part so they can do pretty much what they want for the “script”. It will most likely end up being a Hunger Game wannabe.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    That was no attempt at Ad Hominem, but thanks for being so insecure as to dismiss it as such. I’ve been a semi-pro writer since I was 17, I’ve been published and paid in newspapers and on websites, so what? We could both have been at it for 30 years and you’d still be painfully wrong here. You’re trying to apply movie or book logic to VIDEO-GAME storytelling. And believe it or not, it IS actually possible to make it through that first segment and kill almost no one. But it IS a videogame, and the point of these games is still often to kill the enemies to make your way through. And believe me, there’s a VERY big difference between a harmless deer that was just going on about it’s business and an aggressive bastard with a gun trying to actively murder you who is murdering your friends around you. You want to rage about unrealistic progression, but you clearly have no idea how the human mind works in a survival “Kill or be killed” situation. Sadly, I DO. And I can say emphatically that you are completely wrong here. And yes, you’re clearly very cynical and detatched. Your reply to me pretty much proved that.

    I stand by my evaluation of the game, and my disagreement with your points. You CANNOT apply movie or book logic to actual gameplay segments in a videogame, and only barely to the game’s story. It’s a completely different medium and it works in a completely different way. Movie/book logic just DOES NOT WORK in a videogame.

  • Joanna

    So, what, you preferred Lara as a hollow shell with big tits? In the old games she killed security guards from the British museum for no good reason. In the reboot the bad guys were actual insane cult psychopaths so far removed from humanity that Lara had no choice but to kill if she were to ever get her and her friends off the island. And while in combat Lara evolves from “Please don’t do this.” to “Out of my way, you bastards!”, realising that these men don’t deserve her sympathy or mercy.

  • Thomas Hayes

    Excuse me? I didn’t even mention videogames, I’m Buffy fanboying here.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    Actually, no, I preferred her as a sharp, smart heroine who knew how to handle herself — not this shivering wet kitten Crystal Dynamics have named Lara Croft.

    The problem I have with this game is much the same problem I have with Metroid Other M — Samus represented everything that was badass about female characters in games and what did they do when they had the chance to reboot HER? They turned her into a baby-rabid idiot who doesn’t know enough to put a suit on when she’s about to go through a hazardous area.

    See, this is the problem I have with Lara — they did the exact same thing. They take an otherwise brilliant, strong, badass female character and bring her low. There’s nothing wrong with men getting the crap beat out of them (or at least that’s what the devs seem to think) – the male characters just shrug it off, and it makes them look that much more manly, but with Lara, it’s visibly traumatising. She gets scrapes, she’s shivering from the cold and crying… is that really CD trying to interject ‘realism’ into this game or is it just them defanging a “threatening” female game icon (“threatening” because she *is* strong) by bringing her low and making her so damn stupid she doesn’t know enough to put clothes on (or even attempt to *look* for something to help keep her warm) when she’s cold?

    CD’s comments to the press are very telling — they want people playing the game to feel like they want to “protect” Lara. I’ve never heard anything more ridiculous in my life. Protect Lara Croft?! Seriously? There’s something so horribly paternalistic and patronizing about that. Yeah, gamer guys, now you get to protect the game character you’ve only spent the last 17 years fapping over — seriously, what are they gonna do for the next one? Show Lara in the kitchen making sandwiches for the rest of her team? This is a woman who runs around in tombs and pyramids for FUN, and because it’s exciting – she’s always been depicted as an adrenaline junkie who’s fond of extreme sports and yet has tremendous knowledge about the places she’s visiting.

    CD, however, would have you believe that Lara Croft is a little girl who should be protected from the big, bad world and the big, bad baddies and even from the big, bad tombs she loves so much. They might as well have shown her skinning her knee and bursting into tears at the start of the game, because that’s basically what they’ve done to this character – they’ve reduced her to a weepy child who doesn’t know her ass from her elbow. And it’s not a matter of ‘oh, this is the story about HOW she became such a badass’ — because, seriously, they had Lara in the original series, at the age of 9 years old, being stranded in the Himalayas from a plane crash, and she managed quite well. Granted, that might not be the oft-touted ‘realism’ that people are so fond of trumpeting about with this game, *however*, again – that’s the point. Lara was a hero, she was a legitimate video game hero who stood shoulder to shoulder with the men in the genre and held her own. If she got chomped on by something, then she shook it off and kept going — she wasn’t wallowing around in the mud, *crying*. They made her seem nigh invincible, just like many of her action-adventure contemporaries and you damn sure didn’t want to protect her. If anything, you were helping her to get to that next ledge or reach that switch so that she could progress — not because you were protecting her, but because you were with her on the journey, like a partner, seeing all these amazing sights and puzzles and traps.

    For me, hearing anybody say that Lara Croft should be protected is about as ridiculous as hearing someone say that Rocky Balboa needs to be protected, or Mr. T needs to be protected. It’s freaking absurd and an insult to her legacy as a video game heroine.

  • Joanna

    Lara’s not allowed to cry? Seriously? On her first adventure at the tender age of 21? She gets stranded on an island and gets the shit kicked out of her and she’s not allowed to cry? WTF is wrong with you?

  • Ruby Dynamite

    And congratulations – you’ve earned yourself the big, shiny tiara of Entirely Missed the Pointistan.

  • Joanna

    The point YOU made is that Lara should be an emotionless robot O.o

    I admit the PR for the reboot was shit but the game itself made up for it in trumps.

    The super-human badass protagonist (of either gender) gets a little dull after a decade or so. It’s nice that we get a game character that’s more human every once in a while.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    Lara was never an emotionless robot. That’s the point — she was already plenty human on her own. She was snarky, she was smart — THAT’s being a robot, to you, somehow? TF?

    And *about* that superhuman badass protagonist thing — how many video games can you name for me where a man shoots someone and then starts blubbering about it? Or getting washed ashore and the game taking its sweet old time to show the male protagonist shivering? Or getting shoved up against a wall and threatened with sexualized violence? Seriously, *think* about that, and then maybe you’ll start understanding why I’m so pissed off about this mess calling itself a reboot.

    I’m all for more and better development when it comes to video game characters, *however*, when I look at characters like the protagonist in Far Cry 3 or even Dishonored, I don’t see the camera lingering on their pain the way CD insists the camera linger on Lara’s pain. They’re fetishizing her torment, and it’s disgusting. Until I start seeing more ‘realistic’ games that feature men being imperiled in the same way and with the same fetishistic obsessiveness, I will continue to call bullshit on this ‘realistic’ representation of game violence against a female character.

  • Joanna

    Siri is also snarky and smart. =P

    Have you ever played Heavy Rain or Walking Dead where a scene focused on the male protagonists’ self mutilation? And yet nobody complained about “blubbery” men or the fetishization of the pain that was emphasized in these scenes. I think it’s pretty sexist that you jumped to that conclusion with Tomb Raider. If you actually played the game from start to finish you’d realise how wrong you are.