"Mummy 3" Casting Coup! Rachel Weisz Out, "Alex Rider" In

by | April 12, 2007 | Comments

Rachel Weisz has pulled out of "The Mummy 3," reports say; but just as the sequel loses a mother, it looks like it’s gaining a son — and a strapping athletic teen super spy son, at that.

As reported by TMZ.com, Rachel Weisz will not be reprising her role as the stunning Egyptologist Evelyn Carnahan O’Connell in the upcoming second sequel to 1999’s "The Mummy." Sources speculate a handful of reasons for Weisz’ departure from the franchise, including her participation in as many as four other acting gigs, her recent Oscar win, and caring for her nine-month-old son (with "Fountain" director Darren Aronofsky.)

Fraser, Weisz in "The Mummy Returns"

The initial report was later confirmed by Variety, who also reports that Weisz co-star Brendan Fraser inked his return for an undisclosed "top-of-the-food-chain money deal." Not bad for the guy who made "Monkeybone" only six years ago!

Also figuring into the production may be British teen actor Alex Pettyfer, who made his feature film debut in last year’s "Stormbreaker." Pettyfer — who just turned 17 years old – proved his action-adventure chops in that film as the teenage superspy Alex Rider.

If casting rumors prove true, Pettyfer may take on the role of Alex O’Connell, the son of Rick and Evy who we last saw as a young boy in 2001’s "The Mummy Returns." Per IGN Movies, the character of Alex will be now in his late teens to early twenties and a younger version of his adventurer dad:

"The roguish Alex has been through nine schools in three years, plays poker and has gotten into trouble before with a headmaster’s daughter. He is resourceful and wily, and is essentially Rick 2.0. Alex also mentions at one point that he digs up relics, so it can be assumed he is an archaeologist or treasure hunter of some sort."

Pettyfer in "Stormbreaker"

"Mummy 3" may also focus more on Alex, with Fraser’s Rick serving as a secondary character. New director Rob Cohen ("xXx") is at the helm.

The script is being revised by screenwriters Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, but it’s already got one bad guy. Jet Li is on board to play a mummy — ostensibly that of the Chinese Qin Emperor, whose tomb is famously guarded by an 8,000 strong terra cotta army.

So when will we see this long-awaited sequel? Production should begin this summer, with Universal eyeing a summer 2008 release.

Sources: TMZ.com, Variety, IGN Movies