UK TV actress voicing Lara Croft

Keeley Hawes, star of BBC series <i>MI-5</i>, will be the Tomb Raider heroine's new voice; game due in April.

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Last month, many sites reported that British actress Rachel Weisz would be the new voice of Lara Croft, blue-blooded heroine of the Tomb Raider series. Though publisher Eidos Interactive would only say an announcement was "coming soon," the choice seemed logical. Even before she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for the thriller The Constant Gardner, the actress had a high profile with gamers, having starred in the popular Mummy films. Also, given the fact Weisz is currently several months pregnant with the child of filmmaker Darren Aronofsky, who is directing her in the forthcoming sci-fi romance The Fountain, she'd probably be up for an undemanding-but-lucrative voice-acting gig.

However, like many premature reports, the Weisz-as-Croft rumor turned out to be dead wrong. This week, Eidos announced that another actress will be giving Croft her upper-crust diction in the forthcoming multiplatform release, Tomb Raider: Legend. And the winner is...Keeley Hawes?

If you're asking yourself who Hawes is, you're not alone. While a familiar face in the UK, most North Americans will be unfamiliar with the 29-year-old veteran of British television. Her highest-profile roles in the US were on the TV drama MI-5 (aka Spooks), which was on heavy rotation on BBC America, and the big-screen comedy Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story, which was a hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival.

"Lara Croft is such a strong and powerful character, but she also has an edge to her, which was great to portray vocally," Keeley said in a statement sent to the European press. Matt Gorman, Eidos' head of the Tomb Raider franchise, said "she had the right balance of aristocracy and attitude" to play the blue-blooded adventuress.

Tomb Raider: Legend is set for release in the US on April 11 for the Xbox, PlayStation 2, and the PC. Xbox 360 and PSP versions will ship "shortly after," according to Eidos.

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