Brendan Fraser loves playing the role of the “happy-go-lucky explorer Rick O’Connell.”
Brendan Fraser needed no coaxing when he was offered a third Mummy assignment and the chance to return to the role of happy-go-lucky explorer Rick O’Connell yet again.
“I was waiting for the call,” he says happily. “It’s a great part for an actor — to have the chance to run around and do all that stuff. It’s great to be dragged around on harnesses and flung through the air. You look like you actually are a tough guy when the truth is . . .”
Fraser doesn’t finish the sentence. Is he telling us that he’s really a pussycat? In any event, director Rob Cohen thinks that Fraser is essential to the franchise and that The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor wouldn’t have happened without the 39-year-old Canadian’s involvement.
“He’s indispensable,” Cohen stresses. “I would never have been a part of anything that didn’t involve Brendan. He created the role. He’s the heart and soul of the role. I cannot imagine a Mummy movie without Brendan.”
The two previous films — The Mummy (1999) and The Mummy Returns (2001) — grossed more than $800 million worldwide. In more recent years, he has also established his credentials in more serious fare — with movies like The Quiet American, Crash and Gods and Monsters, and on stage in London in a critically lauded performance as Brick in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. But this summer has seen the return of Fraser, the amiable action hero, first in Journey to the Center of the Earth and now in the latest Mummy epic which opens Aug. 1.
He’s delighted to be told that the press screening of Tomb of the Dragon Emperor triggered a lot of laughter from the audience. After all, he’d hate anyone to take the fantasy about an ancient Chinese tyrant returning to life to be taken too seriously.
“Look! It’s an entertainment! We need to be clear about that, first and foremost, right in front. The tongue has been planted firmly in the cheek since the very beginning.”
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The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor arrives in theaters, August 1st.