The Mummy Returns: Official 2001 trailer
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Brendan Fraser has been the talk of the town in film festivals all around the world this year with his new movie, The Whale. The American star plays an intensely emotional role as a father trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. But during the promotional period for this touching film, he has also been inundated with questions about his most famous film series: The Mummy. Most recently, he was quizzed about the franchise’s 2017 reboot starring Tom Cruise. And he didn’t hold back.
Fraser played hero Rick O’Connell three times throughout the 2000s in The Mummy, The Mummy Returns and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.
A decade later, Universal decided to reboot the series by kicking off a Dark Cinematic Universe, involving such classic Hammer Horror baddies as Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, The Wolf Man and even Dracula.
Neither Fraser nor any of the other original Mummy cast – including Rachel Weisz – returned for the reboot. Instead, Cruise became the new protagonist of the series, Sergeant Nick Morton.
Fraser said of the reboot: “It is hard to make that movie,” before pointing out just why the film didn’t work.
Fraser said: “The ingredient that we had going for our Mummy, which I didn’t see in that film, was fun. That was what was lacking in that incarnation. It was too much of a straight-ahead horror movie.”
He added: “The Mummy should be a thrill ride, but not terrifying and scary. I know how difficult it is to pull it off. I tried to do it three times.”
Cruise’s version of The Mummy was very negatively received. Rotten Tomatoes currently has it at a 15 percent approval rating based on 314 reviews.
The review aggregator’s consensus says: “Lacking the campy fun of the franchise’s most recent entries and failing to deliver many monster-movie thrills, The Mummy suggests a speedy unravelling for the Dark Universe.”
Tom Cruise stars in new remake of The Mummy
Fraser was later quizzed about rejoining The Mummy franchise 20 years later.
While he is a lot older now – at 53-years-old – he had a positive response to the notion. He replied: “I don’t know how it would work. But I’d be open to it if someone came up with the right conceit.” (Via Variety)
If the actor was going to make a comeback to the action movie genre, now would be the time. Fraser is currently going through something of a renaissance in his career, having just grasped a leading role in TV show Doom Patrol, and the aforementioned Darren Aronofsky picture, The Whale.
In fact, Fraser’s performance in The Whale has been so well-liked by critics that he has received multiple standing ovations at film festivals.
During two recent standing ovations at the Venice Film Festival and the London Film Festival, Fraser’s emotions got the better of him. He was left wiping the tears from his face as he thanked viewers for appreciating his performance.
He later spoke gratefully about his character in The Whale, Charlie, who struggled being overweight.
“It gave me an appreciation for those whose bodies are similar,” he said. “I learned that you need to be an incredibly strong person, physically, mentally, to inhabit that being.”
Fraser also spoke candidly about his own transformation. In the 1990s he played a scantily clad George of the Jungle walking around New York City. Likewise, in The Mummy he was a gun-toting vision of masculinity.
He said: “I looked different in those days. My journey to where I am now has been to explore as many characters as I can, and this presented the biggest challenge to me. By far I think that Charlie is the most heroic man I have ever played, because his superpower is to see the good in others, and bring that out in him. In that process he’s on his journey of salvation.” (sic)
The Whale hits cinemas on December 9, 2022.
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