We take a first look at the eagerly-awaited sequel to The Mummy, one of 1999’s Fantasy blockbusters.

WWF's The Rock as the Scorpion King

Text by James Abery

Selected from Starburst #273

One of two alternate cover stories with this issue.
Go here for our other cover story on The X-Files / Lone Gunmen

In 1935, 10 years after their adventures in Egypt when they faced the wrath of the mummy Imhotep, Rick O’Connell has settled down, married the beautiful archaeologist Evelyn Carnarvon and moved to London with their 9-year-old son, Alex. But when a chain of events brings the mummy of Imhotep to the British Museum, the creature is resurrected and walks the earth again, determined to fulfil his quest for immortality. And another force has also been invoked – a power created from the dread rituals of Ancient Egypt, a being even more powerful than Imhotep. When these two forces clash, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, sending the O’Connells on a race to save the world from unspeakable evil, and to rescue their son, who features in the Mummy’s plans for immortality...

The Mummy Returns is the hugely anticipated sequel to last year’s smash hit The Mummy, which mixed chills and thrills in equal measure, with a dazzling array of computer-generated effects to create fighting mummies, sandstorms, and teeming hordes of flesh-eating cockroaches. Brendan Fraser once again stars as action hero Rick O’Connell, joined as before by Rachel Weisz as Evelyn. Nine-year-old Freddie Boath plays their son, Alex. Fraser, one of the busiest Hollywood actors whose recent Fantasy films have included Bedazzled and Monkeybone (the latter sadly a flop - Web Ed.), was reportedly offered a salary of $12.5 million to return.

Stephen Sommers, who directed and scripted The Mummy, returns in the same capacities on this film. “Stephen is constantly on the move,” Rachel Weisz admitted of the director. “He’s got more energy than anyone I have met, he’s really inspiring and fun. And because he wrote the films, it’s all there in his imagination.”

Cowardly Brother John Hannah also returns as Evelyn’s dissolute brother. Hannah considered his cowardly, prat-falling character to be the equivalent of Shaggy from Scooby Doo and consequently wanted to beef the fellow up a bit. In the new film, he has used his ill-gotten gains to set up a gambling establishment, decked out in regal Egyptian style, a venue which inevitably features in one of the set-piece fight sequences.

Another return is a memorable figure from the original film – the serene, silent, gold-painted Anck-Su-Namun, the priestess whom the Mummy attempted to resurrect. Patricia Velazques, the 29-year-old Venezualan model who played the role, was delighted to return, although her film career had taken off in the meantime and it was difficult for her to fit the filming into her busy schedule.

The movie’s highest-profile guest star is WWF wrestler Duane ‘The Rock’ Johnson, who plays the powerful Scorpion King. So good was the advance word on his ancient Egyptian ass-kicker that Johnson was offered $5.5 million to star in a third Mummy film devoted to the Scorpion King character. However, Rachel Weisz, who had a recent success in the film Enemy at the Gates with Jude Law, has already stated that this second Mummy film will be her last. “It’s been enormous fun,” she said, “but you have to know when to stop.”

May 2nd 2000 was the first day of shooting on the movie. The subtitle The Pyramid of Gold was attached to the film for a while, and it was briefly called The Mummy 2, before a title was coined that harkened back to the film’s roots in the Universal Horror canon of the 1930s and 40s, The Mummy Returns...

For more coverage, see Shivers #89 (web edition due by 25 April) and our Movie Idols poster magazine devoted to Brendan Fraser - with a fold-out poster for The Mummy Returns!

Starburst #273One of two alternate covers with this issue. Go here for our other cover story on The Lone Gunmen / The-X-Files

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Images ©20th Century Fox TV / Universal
Feature © Visual Imagination 2001. Not for reproduction