MUMMY’S THE WORD

TOM CRUISE AND RUS­SELL CROWE TEAM UP FOR A MON­STER MOVIE HIT

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SEANNA CRONIN

Two Hol­ly­wood heavyweights share the screen for the first time in The Mummy. Be­tween them Tom Cruise and Rus­sell Crowe have hun­dreds of films to their credit, but have never worked to­gether un­til now.

And they cer­tainly throw their weight around in the ac­tion film, a dark re­boot of Uni­ver­sal’s Mummy fran­chise set in mod­ern Lon­don and Iraq.

“Rus­sell is one of the great­est ac­tors on the planet, so the two of them was an un­ex­pected mir­a­cle,” di­rec­tor Alex Kurtz­man says.

“Some­times your job as a di­rec­tor is to sit back and do ab­so­lutely noth­ing and let th­ese bril­liant peo­ple do their thing.”

The Mummy is part of Uni­ver­sal Pic­tures’ stu­dio-wide re­boot dubbed the Dark Uni­verse. Mod­ern re­makes of clas­sic mon­ster movies in­clud­ing Drac­ula, Bride of Franken­stein, The Invisible Man and Van Hels­ing will fol­low The Mummy.

“The stu­dio is lit­er­ally built on the back of mon­sters and they’ve been wait­ing quite a long time to fig­ure out the right way to do it,” Kurtz­man says.

“When they came to me and my busi­ness part­ner Chris Mor­gan we talked about how to build the uni­verse.

“It’s so rare you get to make stu­dio films in which the fo­cus is so deeply on bro­ken char­ac­ters who aren’t nec­es­sar­ily go­ing to be fixed by the end of the film.

“If they’re fixed then they’re not mon­sters any more, and that made it very ex­cit­ing.”

The Mummy fol­lows “sol­dier of for­tune” Nick (Cruise) and Egyp­tol­o­gist Jenny (Annabelle Wal­lis) af­ter they ac­ci­den­tally un­earth the re­mains of Princess Ah­manet en­tombed thou­sands of years ago by the Egyp­tians.

Sofia Boutella plays the venge­ful princess, who was mum­mi­fied alive af­ter mak­ing a deal with the Egyp­tian god of death. When she’s set loose, she se­lects Nick as her new sac­ri­fice.

Crowe plays Dr Jekyll, yes that Dr Jekyll, who has found a way of sub­du­ing his al­ter ego and is on a mis­sion to rid the world of evil forces.

“Tom’s char­ac­ter dis­cov­ers not only that the mummy ex­ists but she ex­ists in a larger world of gods and mon­sters and we needed a mouth­piece for what that world was,” Kurtz­man says.

“It needed to be some­one who had a con­nec­tion to evil and who had been study­ing it for a long time.”

The film fea­tures some im­pres­sive stunts, in­clud­ing a scene in a freefalling mil­i­tary plane shot us­ing zero grav­ity plane flights.

The cast and crew only got 22 sec­onds of zero grav­ity per par­a­bolic arc and only 16 arcs per flight, so sev­eral days of twice-daily flights were needed to cap­ture the en­tire se­quence.

“I wanted you to feel you were in the plane as it was go­ing down, and that it wasn’t be­ing cre­ated in cuts and there were no stunt dou­bles,” Kurtz­man says.

“We pre­pared that se­quence for nine months; there’s some very com­pli­cated chore­og­ra­phy. The chaos of shoot­ing in zero grav­ity is what makes it great. You don’t know quite what’s go­ing to hap­pen.”

New tech­nolo­gies and a darker ap­proach make the new Mummy very dif­fer­ent from the orig­i­nal films star­ring Bren­dan Fraser and Rachel Weisz.

“I think that we live in a time where now the stan­dard is dif­fer­ent than when The Mummy came out in 1999,” Kurtz­man says.

“I love the idea of bring­ing the film to mod­ern day and mak­ing it feel real and vis­ceral and grounded. My hope is au­di­ences will be hun­gry for some­thing else.”

The Mummy opens in ma­jor cin­e­mas to­day

THE STU­DIO IS LIT­ER­ALLY BUILT ON THE BACK OF MON­STERS

Annabelle Wal­lis and Tom Cruise in a scene from Uni­ver­sal’s dark re­boot of clas­sic hor­ror tale The Mummy.

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