Maria Bello Replaces Rachel Weisz in Mummy 3

Variety reports that actress Maria Bello has officially replaced Rachel Weisz for the upcoming “Mummy 3″ movie. She’ll be joining the returning Brendan Fraser, who has starred in all three “Mummy” films, and newcomer Luke Ford, who will be playing the couple’s teenage son, and whose character is expected to carry on the “Mummy” films post-“Mummy 3″. Also in the cast is Jet Li in his second villainous role (both for Hollywood, curiously), and Michelle Yeoh.

Bello will play Evelyn Carnahan O’Connell, the adventuress played in the first two films by Weisz. After Weisz declined to reprise, Cohen and the studio cast a wide net for a replacement.

Scripted by “Smallville” creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, the film brings the O’Connells and their full-grown son (Ford) to the forbidden tombs of China and the Himalayas, where they battle a shape-shifting mummy, a former Chinese emperor (Li) cursed by a wizard (Yeoh).

The film will be directed by Rob Cohen (“The Fast and the Furious”), and Egyptian mummies will be replaced by Chinese ones, hence the casting of Li and Yeoh.

Maria Bello’s films include “Payback”, “A History of Violence”, and “Flicka”. In 2007 she can also be seen in “Butterfly on a Wheel”, “The Jane Austen Book Club”, “Downloading Nancy”, and “Nothing is Private”. The woman likes to work, if you can’t already tell.