Rob Cohen Updates the Mummy 3, Talks Rachel Weisz

I really like what Rob Cohen is doing at this blog, even though he isn’t really going the Jon Favreau route and really keeping the fans up to date on the progress of The Mummy 3, at least he’s trying, and that’s got to count for something. I wish more filmmakers would do this, filling the fans in on what’s happening, instead of making us dig for every little piece of information, and then sending their lawyer stormtroopers when we find something and post it on our sites. Sometimes you get the feeling these Hollywood types would rather play the ego trip game instead of actually get people excited to see their movies; or maybe they think they’re too good for us. Whatever. In any case, Cohen has made a new post on his blog, and this time he talks about the Rachel Weisz departure from the franchise.

Or, actually, he doesn’t say why Weisz left, he just mentions that actors are complex dorks who needs their space and crap like that. You know, the care and feeding of those gentle, fragile souls called “actors”.

A few of you have inquired about Rachel Weisz and this deserves a response. Rachel decided to leave the franchise many years ago, after “The Mummy 2″ finished shooting. We all had hopes that she would change her mind but I never had the opportunity to meet her or talk to her.

Actors are just like other people, only more so, to paraphrase an old saying. They are complex souls who have trained themselves to be mirrors of reality, to show us who we are or who we hope to be. All the technical side of film making, all the finest special effects would be nothing without actors. Even in the magnificent Pixar films, the actor’s voice gives life to the painstaking animation. Without them, even the most brilliant technical achievements would fall flat.

An actor’s thought process deciding to do a role is beyond analysis. Neither their agents and managers, nor their coaches, trainers, and nutritionists can tell you what they are going to do or not do. I am sure, like everyone in a creative process, a decision comes after a labyrinthian journey but, even after 30 films, I cannot predict what is going to happen.

This left us with a problem and an opportunity. After much casting, meetings, drinks, etc., I shot a day of screen tests with five major actresses and the one that blew us away was Maria Bello. She had such strong chemistry with Brendan (who generously did the screen tests with all five), that it wasn’t much of a decision once I cut the film. She had beauty and precision, humor, and an inner fire that has always propelled her in films such as “THE COOLER” and “HISTORY OF VIOLENCE”. She had already mastered the English accent and brought a freshness to the role. Also, she brought out several new shadings in Brendan. The newness really worked and fit in to my hopes that my film would be a “re-boot” to the franchise, not more of the same.

Whatever Rachel decides to do with her career, I only wish her success and personal satisfaction. She was pivotal in the success of the first two, for sure.

There’s no need to defend the casting of Maria Bello. She’s an incredibly beautiful and talented individual, and the film is lucky to have her.

Although I think it’s interesting that Cohen is calling The Mummy 3 more of a “reboot” than a continuation of the franchise. We’ll have to see how it goes from here, but I am loving the idea of the movie. The addition of Bello is great, and so is the casting of Jet Li as the villain and Michelle Yeoh as the wizard. I’m not a big fan of making the movie TOO MUCH about the O’Connell’s kid, though; that strikes me as a slap in the face of Brendan Frasier and the characters from the previous two movies.

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