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THE MOVIE: The Scorpion King

THE STARS:
The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) • Michael Clarke Duncan
with Kelly Hu • Bernard Hill
DIRECTOR: Chuck Russell

The Scorpion King THE CONCEPT:
WWF superstar The Rock reprises his role from The Mummy Returns. This prequel, The Scorpion King, is set 5000 years ago in the city of Gomorrah, where an evil ruler is out to destroy all the desert nomads. The few remaining tribes, knowing that their enemy relies on a sorcerer's visions, hire skilled assassin Mathayus (The Rock)...

U.S. RELEASE: April 19, Nationwide • Rated: PG-13

THE COMMENTS:

CHUCK RUSSELL:
"I have fun developing talent. Prior to this film, the most fun I've had making a movie was directing The Mask when Jim Carrey was still unknown and Cameron Diaz hadn't acted at all in her career. When I first saw The Rock, I thought, 'This is a fascinating guy. He's funny, he's great looking and he's got a dangerous edge.'"

THE ROCK:
"I don't feel this Scorpion King has anything to do with the role in The Mummy Returns. That was a very small part of that movie - it was all action, all fighting. I was in the first five minutes and the last five minutes, when it wasn't even me. (In this movie) the character has a myriad of emotions, and he goes on this great journey of discovery of love and betrayal."

CHUCK RUSSELL:
"We're less about creatures than the previous Mummy films. This movie is an adventure/comedy/romance - it's a classic genre movie. We have tried to make a film that's exciting in its action, but is family friendly, and that's an honorable goal. I wanted to stress the adventure, the excitement right down to the blocking of the action scenes, without it becoming grotesque and nightmarishly violent."

THE ROCK:
"In wrestling you just get one take. In movies you get the luxury of take after take, but when it's five in the morning and you're on your 15th take with flaming swords, it gets difficult getting into the moment again!"

CHUCK RUSSELL on directing so many fight scenes:
"I'm part of all the choreography of every scene, and I used people who were the best in the world in staging fight scenes. The biggest challenge was safety. These principals had to do all their own stunts - you can't double these guys. The only incident we had was Michael Clarke Duncan got knocked out for a moment. The fights are like a dance and if you lean forward when you are supposed to lean back, there's a price to pay. Michael caught The Rock's elbow. You actually do see the shot in the film, but it wasn't played that he was knocked unconscious, we had the fight continue."

THE ROCK:
"I was really worried about Michael. I caught him with my elbow [not the patented 'People's Elbow'? - Web. Ed.] and he went down. When you are in front of someone who gets knocked out, it's scary because I've known people who have been knocked down, hit their head and died. But he was a trooper. He got up and wanted to continue to shoot."

MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN:
"I was not knocked out. Chuck was so worried he ran up to me and said, 'What movie is this?' I said (feigning confusion), 'The Green Mile?' Chuck looked horrified, so I said, 'I'm playing with you.' The Rock came over and was really apologetic. He almost cried. He's a little softy."

Written by Judy Sloane. Back to top

Visit the official The Scorpion King site
Images above © 2002 Universal Pictures
Feature © 2002 Visual Imagination.
Not for reproduction.

Film Review, May 2002 cover
May issue, Scorpion King feature

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Film Review Special #39, Sequels

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