Brendan Fraser had already starred in plenty of successful movies before 1999, including comedies like “Encino Man” and Oscar-winning dramas like “Gods and Monsters.” But that year he found his defining role in the Universal Studios blockbuster “The Mummy,” playing adventurer Rick O’Connell. And although Fraser seemingly wrapped up the role in 2008 with “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” he hasn’t ruled out a return to the franchise.
“I don’t know how it would work,” Fraser told Variety in an interview. “But I’d be open to it if someone came up with the right conceit.”
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Fraser spoke about “The Mummy” as part of a Variety cover story with Darren Aronofsky, the director of his new film “The Whale.” The film stars Fraser as a middle-aged teacher attempting to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter. It’s widely been labeled as Fraser’s comeback vehicle after his career stalled for years — and has generated considerable Oscar buzz for the actor.
Following 2008’s “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” Universal rebooted the series in 2017 with a “Mummy” film starring Tom Cruise as part of the studio’s Dark Universe rebuild. That film received negative reviews and middling box office numbers, prompting Universal to cancel the Dark Universe initiative — a series of linked films about classic Universal horror monsters — it was intended to launch.
Asked what he thought about the Tom Cruise film, Fraser said he felt the film didn’t take off because it overemphasized the horror element of “The Mummy” franchise. Although the original 1932 “Mummy” film was a fairly straightforward monster movie, Fraser’s 1999 film and its two sequels emphasized the scares in favor of an action-adventure movie a la the “Indiana Jones” franchise.
“It is hard to make that movie. The ingredient that we had going for our ‘Mummy,’ which I didn’t see in that film, was fun,” Fraser told Variety. “That was what was lacking in that incarnation. It was too much of a straight-ahead horror movie. ‘The Mummy’ should be a thrill ride, but not terrifying and scary. I know how difficult it is to pull it off. I tried to do it three times.”
“The Whale” will be released in theaters on December 9 by A24.
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