By EW Staff
Updated April 19, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: ILM

The Mummy (1999 movie)

LONG KEEN TO RESURRECT a warhorse horror character, Universal had trouble finding a director. George Romero, Joe Dante, and Clive Barker came and went; script drafts ranged from violent to campy. Then Sommers (”Deep Rising”) suggested what he calls ”more of a romantic adventure than a horror movie.” Universal handed him an $80 million budget for a shoot in England and Morocco. They also planned a July 4 opening but midway through production decided to leave that weekend to its rightful owner, Will Smith (”Wild Wild West”). In order to get some play time before George Lucas declared ”Star Wars,” presumably on Memorial Day, the studio decided on May 7 — then Lucas pushed his date up to May 19. ”Thank you very much, George,” gibes Sommers. ”Gimme a break.”

The salt in the bandage: He says Universal is paying Lucas’ ILM effects shop as much as $120,000 a pop for 141 exceedingly complicated computer-animated shots that will enhance Vosloo’s live-action performance in the title role. Fraser, who fights mummies with love interest Weisz, found himself ”fighting a room full of no one,” since many of the monster shots would be added later.

Still, a make-believe monster was easier to deal with than an ornery camel named Marmaduke. ”My first camel, Barney, got a hemorrhoid and couldn’t work,” explains Fraser. The replacement was a worn-out stunt camel. ”The only time he would run fast was when they called lunch.”

The Mummy (1999 movie)

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 124 minutes
  • Stephen Sommers