Up until now, I had been hopeful that the latest installment in The Mummy franchise would be able to pull off another good, if not great, movie with Mummy 3: Curse of the Dragon. My hopes were dashed with the news that studio has decided to recast the role of Evie O’Connell.
We already knew that Rachel Weisz, who played the role of Evie in the first two films, would not be joining the cast of Mummy 3 due to scheduling conflicts.
I actually had no problem with this news. I liked the idea of a father-son adventure. What better way to extend the life of a franchise with an aging action hero than to give him a son that’ll carry on the adventure? In fact, I believe Indiana Jones is trying the same technique for its fourth installment. Besides I liked what we saw of Alex O’Connell in The Mummy Returns and am interested in how he grew up.
A father-son adventure would allow the franchise to continue without Weisz. Her absence could be explained early on and it would leave the door open for Weisz to return in a later movie. If a female lead is needed, a love interest for Alex could always be added. But apparently, no one at the studio is listening to me. Variety announced that Maria Bello will replace Weisz as Evie.
I personally have nothing against Bello. I liked her as the no-nonsense bar owner on Coyote Ugly and as Mel Gibson’s girlfriend in Payback. I even liked her short stint on ER as Dr. Anna Del Amico. But you just don’t replace an actress on a well-established franchise. Fans will notice. By doing so, the studio has already said that it’s not out to make the best sequel that it can.
With so many options available — rewriting the script, casting another female lead in a different role, postponing the film until Weisz is available, the studio took the easy (and probably cheap) way out. Fans of the Mummy franchise will definitely notice. And this one is not happy about the decision. This sequel has just move down to my wait until it comes out on DVD list.
Bello joins a returning Brendan Fraser who will reprise his role as Rick O’Connell and Luke Ford as their son Alex (despite my previous report that Alex Pettyfer would have this role).
(photos courtesy of filmmonthly.com)