THE MUMMY

Empire (UK) - - ON.SCREEN - IAN FREER

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.

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