FEATURE:The Mummy Returns

From Ultimate DVD #22

BETWEEN THE ROCK AND A HARD PLACE

Universal took one look at the dailies from The Mummy Returns and commissioned another movie. The Rock tells Ultimate DVD all about it...

The Rock and his army in The Mummy Returns

Pre-order Region 2 details @ BlackStar

It's not out until later in the Autumn, but we've already seen the DVD. Review and full feature in the issue...

Once known only as the outlandish champion of the ring with the World Wrestling Federation, The Rock can now confidently add the term 'Movie Star' to his growing repertoire. In The Mummy Returns, out October 2 on Region 1 DVD, the robust wrestling icon plays The Scorpion King, a lethal force created in Thebes 3067 BC. Cut to 1933, the Year of the Scorpion, and Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser), his wife Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) and their son Alex (Freddie Boath) must try to save the world when The Mummy (Arnold Vosloo) is resurrected, while the greater power of The Scorpion King also begins to stir...

Selling your soul can be painful!Although the character has only a limited amount of screen time, his presence is felt throughout the film, while The Rock's performance so impressed Universal executives that they quickly ordered a spin off film, fittingly named after the villain himself, due to be released in 2002. For those impatient for the next installment of The Mummy series, the DVD offers some tantalizing glimpses of what's to come.

While The Rock (real name: Dwayne Johnson) was not a total stranger to working on a soundstage - he'd previously had guest spots on TV shows as diverse as Star Trek: Voyager, The Net and That '70s Show - The Mummy Returns nevertheless presented a major learning curve. He's quick to dismiss any suggestion that performing with the WWF and making a major summer movie are just different forms of crowd-pleasing entertainment, simply because the production machinery contrasts so greatly.

Just Deserts

"Performing in the ring we're able to tell our little stories of struggle and then at the end, hopefully, the good guy wins - and that doesn't happen all the time. It's one take. In the film industry you're able to convey a wider array of emotions and to tell a much longer story and more challenging story because not everything is so physical."

Filmed on location in Morocco, Jordan, London and at England's Shepperton Studios, The Mummy Returns presented The Rock with some fresh physical challenges. "I flew to Morocco in early May 2000 and ended up in a place called Erfoud on the edge of the Sahara Desert," he recalls. "The atmosphere around the film was electrifying. There was a lot of motivation. I had to get up at 2 am every morning and sit in the make-up chair for three hours. It took another hour to get cleaned up at the end of each day."

The Scorpion King might almost be an invincible force, but The Rock demonstrated he is prone to normal human frailties when a bad bout of food poisoning almost incapacitated him during the Moroccan shoot.

"When I went over, Oded [Fehr, who plays Ardeth Bay] and Arnold Vosloo were saying, 'Listen Rock, you've really got to be careful about what you eat over here'. So I ordered chicken, and before you know it I am as sick as a dog. It's 20 minutes before our first take and it was really to the point where I had no idea what was wrong..."

Richard Houldsworth

Feature © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001
Images © Universal. Not for reproduction

Continued in Ultimate DVD #22

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