Despatches - movie news from Alan Jones

All the latest movie news from Alan Jones

From Film Review
August 2000
Film Review Hotline

Mummy! Mummy! special report by John Millar
Double trouble for sand-blown heroes in eagerly-anticipated sequel

Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz in The MummyDeep in rural Hertfordshire, a bunch of guys in red robes and turbans speed off into the night, with Rachel Weisz captive in a gleaming silver and black 1930s Packard Super 8. Brendan Fraser and John Hannah duck, pretending to avoid a hail of bullets. Meanwhile, Arnold Vosloo relaxes in his trailer, discussing the business of having all his body hair shaved off and what it’s like to be regularly resurrected from the grave. Yes, the gang are all here again as The Mummy Returns – sequel to box-office sensation The Mummy which took more than $430 million world-wide – goes in front of the cameras.

As the crew prepare for another rehearsal of the red turbans’ getaway – “This time don’t fire the guns, just go bang! bang!” the baddies are told – director and writer Stephen Sommers talks about the second helping of his winning mixture of ancient Egyptian chills and Indian Jones-style thrills. The message from a grinning, buoyant Sommers is that The Mummy Returns will be bigger, better and badder than before. For starters, Imhotep, the 3,000-year-old Mummy played by Arnold Vosloo, faces serious competition in the world domination stakes – and this other ancient Egyptian villain, called the Scorpion King and played by WWF grappling champ The Rock, has seniority because he is 6,000 years old.

After filming here is completed the production then undergoes months of painstaking computerized special effects worth which will be carried out right until the last minute before The Mummy Returns is ready for release on May 11, 2001. And, according to Stephen Sommers – a man who would be a multi-millionaire if his enthusiasm could be bottled and marketed – all the effort is going to be worthwhile. “I knew the sequel couldn’t be the same thing that we did in The Mummy, so there are a whole load of new things. This film will be scarier than before, there are also some pretty spectacular fight scenes. I don’t want to give too much away, let’s just say that the cannibalistic pigmy skeletons alone will be worth the price of admission...”

Roberts Going Cheap • Trick pays off for Clooney

Julia RobertsSuperstar Julia Roberts has agreed to appear in her next movie for just $20 – after she was tricked by George Clooney. The former ER star was desperate to get the gorgeous actress to appear in Ocean’s Eleven but he knew executives did not have the cash for her usual $20 million fee. So joker George rang Julia, mentioned a figure of ‘20’, and sent her the script with a $20 bill inside it. Julia saw the funny side and has agreed to play gangster’s moll Beatrice Ocean.

Short Cuts

Mark Wahlberg will star in Criminal Conversation as a young mob boss who falls in love with the wife of the high profile District Attorney trying to nail him. Iain (The Wings of the Dove) Softley will direct for producer Tom Cruise. Then Wahlberg will take the lead in Tim Burton’s Return to the Planet of the Apes.

• MGM wants Reese (Election) Witherspoon to star in Legally Blonde, an adaptation of the comic novel by Amanda Brown. Australian Robert Luketic will direct the film about a naive blonde dumped by her boyfriend who decides to attend Stanford Law School so she can meet a better class of men. She winds up becoming a lawyer and warms to the job, surprising everybody by winning a big case.

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