Alicia Vikander found filming 'Tomb Raider' as tough as dance training.

The 28-year-old actress attended the Royal Swedish Ballet School until she was 18 and says shooting the action remake - in which she plays swashbuckling archaeologist Lara Croft - took her back to those days because it was so intense.

She said: ''I love big popcorn movies. I've never done action scenes on this level - not even close.

''It feels like I'm back to dancing - the training, the intensity. You need to be aware of your movement up in the wires and how your body works.''

Alicia - who is in a relationship with Michael Fassbender - worked hard to transform her body for the role and found the changes ''pretty empowering'' because she became so strong.

She told the new issue of America's ELLE magazine: ''[I was] bulking up quite a lot at first and then trying to just, like, tone down.

''I've never been able to lift my own weight, and the day when you have that capacity, it's pretty empowering! And you get the endorphins afterward.''

The action heroine - who first appeared in a 1996 video game - was previously portrayed in two movies, 2001's 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' and 2003's 'Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life', and Alicia knew she had a challenge ahead of her to make her own mark on the iconic character.

She said: ''I thought I was going to have to explain it to my mom, and she was like, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah -- Angelina did that!' It proves that [Jolie] set a whole tone for that kind of role, so I knew we had to do something very different.''