The Mummy and The Mummy Returns were pretty linked companion pieces. The entire cast was the same and it took place in the same deserts with the same monsters. Now, seven years later, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is in China with Maria Bello playing Rick O’Connell’s wife instead of Rachel Weisz.
“She’s great in it,” said Fraser of Bello. “Great. Great, great, great. She loved it. She ate it up with a spoon. She’s got moxy. She can take care of herself. Her set of baddies, she gave them good news.”
With all due respect to Weisz, Fraser thinks it is perfectly fair to give another actress a chance. He even downplays his own necessity. “Any role can be played. It’s a role. Rick O’Connell could be played by…you tell me.”
As for changing the location and waiting seven years in between films, Fraser hinted that little has changed. “Well, the premise is new. It was a Chinese desert that we were in. It was a good experience though. I just had such a good time making those movies, I just couldn’t resist coming back to it, even if it is seven years later. It’s good because then it allows you to reinvent.”
Directed by Rob Cohen, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor sees the franchise invigorated by new blood: Rick and Evelyn O’Connell’s teenage son, Alex (Luke Ford), a young archaeologist who accidentally awakens an ancient Chinese emperor (Jet Li) and his terra cotta warriors. The synopsis:
Brendan Fraser returns as explorer Rick O’Connell to combat the resurrected Han Emperor (Jet Li) in an epic that races from the catacombs of ancient China high into the frigid Himalayas. Rick is joined in this all-new adventure by son Alex (newcomer Luke Ford), wife Evelyn (Maria Bello) and her brother, Jonathan (John Hannah). And this time, the O’Connells must stop a mummy awoken from a 2,000-year-old curse who threatens to plunge the world into his merciless, unending service. Doomed by a double-crossing sorceress (Michelle Yeoh) to spend eternity in suspended animation, China’s ruthless Dragon Emperor and his 10,000 warriors have laid forgotten for eons, entombed in clay as a vast, silent terra cotta army. But when dashing adventurer Alex O’Connell is tricked into awakening the ruler from eternal slumber, the reckless young archaeologist must seek the help of the only people who know more than he does about taking down the undead: his parents. As the monarch roars back to life, our heroes find his quest for world domination has only intensified over the millennia. Striding the Far East with unimaginable supernatural powers, the Emperor Mummy will rouse his legion as an unstoppable, otherworldly force…unless the O’Connells can stop him first.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor will hit theaters August 1, 2008.