IF ALEX KURTZMAN, director of The Mummy, is feeling the pressure of kickstarting a cinematic universe populated by Universal’s classic monsters, he is wearing it very lightly, like an unravelling bandage.
“It’s so much fun to be able to make a real monster movie at this level,” he says. “Let’s travel all around the world, film in the most exotic locations and do crazy things like literally shoot a sequence in zero gravity. How can you have more fun than that?”
The plot follows traditional Mummy lines, as Tom Cruise’s Nick Morton unearths — and unleashes — a long-buried malevolent force. Yet there are tweaks to keep things fresh. As opposed to the ’20s-set Brendan Fraser romps, this
Mummy is rooted in the here and now. “All of our modern technology is useless against ancient evil,” Kurtzman says. “To me, the beauty is this collision between magic and science.” But perhaps the biggest shake-up is the decision to make the Mummy female — Kingsman’s Sofia Boutella. “Turning the character into a woman, this whole world of story possibilities opened up. It felt like a reason to make the movie.”
Also along for the ride is Russell Crowe as Dr Henry Jekyll, who may provide clues as to where this series is going. For now, though, the focus is on the present. “You have to make great individual films,” says Kurtzman, “and the rest will follow.” One shuffling monster at a time.