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The Mummy (1999) Poster

(1999)

Trivia

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With the exception of a loin cloth and a few pieces of jewelry, Patricia Velasquez's costume consists entirely of body paint which took 14 hours to apply.
Brendan Fraser nearly died during a scene where his character is hanged. Rachel Weisz remembered, "He [Fraser] stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated."
According to director Stephen Sommers, Universal phoned him the morning after this movie was released and said, "We need another one."
The white nightgown Evelyn wore when the ship was attacked became transparent when it got wet and had to be digitally painted white during post production so the film could keep its PG-13 rating.
An Egyptologist was brought in to phonetically render what Ancient Egyptian might have sounded like for the dialogue.
The opening voice-over was originally intended to be read by Imhotep. Director Stephen Sommers later realized that Imhotep wouldn't be able to speak English, and gave the voice-over to Ardeth Bay instead.
A cloak lent by the British costume rental company Angels and worn by an extra in this film was discovered to have in fact been made for Alec Guinness when he played Obi Wan Kenobi in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
The library disaster was done in one take. It would have taken an entire day to re-shoot if a mistake had been made.
In one scene, Beni is shown with a sackful of gold which he is trying to load onto a camel, and Beni pulls the camel by the reins but the camel doesn't budge; the camels all, for some reason, hated Kevin J. O'Connor.
When King Tutankhamen's tomb was found on November 4, 1922, the person in charge was George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. Along with him was his daughter, Lady Evelyn Carnarvon. Rachel Weisz's character is named Evelyn Carnahan. Originally, her character was meant to be Evelyn Carnarvon. She and her brother were to be the children of the "cursed" Lord Carnarvon. The only evidence of this left in the film is in the line where Evelyn tells O'Connell that her father was a "very, very famous explorer". The Mummy novelization goes into a bit more detail on her back story.
"Imhotep" was actually the name of the architect who developed the first pyramids in ancient Egypt, most notably the Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara around 2600 BC. His ability was such that he was later said to have descended from the gods. His name means "one who comes in peace"
In 2004, Universal Studios theme parks (Hollywood and Orlando) opened their "Revenge of the Mummy" rides based on both this movie and The Mummy Returns (2001). The rides became so popular, the lines would stretch into the main park with riders waiting for hours in the hot California or Florida sun. To alleviate the stress of waiting, when the lines would move, fans of the movie would wearily chant "Im-ho-tep. Im-ho-tep. Im-ho-tep." as the hypnotized townspeople do halfway through the movie.
The Medjai were originally supposed to be tattooed from head to toe, but Stephen Sommers vetoed against it because he thought Oded Fehr was "too good-looking" to be covered up.
During the scene when Imhotep is raising the sandstorm in the desert, the camera had to quickly pan up; the wind machines being used kept blowing Arnold Vosloo's cape up, exposing his backside.
The scene in which the scarabs come from the sands to chase the explorers was done by using an air compressor on the set that went off to simulate the insects' emerging from the sand.
Stephen Sommers came up with the gag of Evelyn saving Rick from two gunshots on the burning boat the night before they filmed the scene.
Leonardo DiCaprio was rumoured to have been offered the role of Rick O'Connell. It's believed DiCaprio was said to have loved the script and wanted to be in the film, however he had already agreed to star in The Beach (2000). It's also been said that DiCaprio asked if The Beach could be delayed so he could film The Mummy, but producers refused. Ironically, filming of The Beach was delayed anyway.
The scene in the beginning where Imhotep is mummified freaked out actor Arnold Vosloo. He had to be in bandages for four hours to film the scenes where he's wrapped in bandages and put in his tomb.
It was originally planned to open the film with the old black and white Universal logo that had been used at the beginning of The Mummy (1932) which would dissolve into the blazing desert sun.
The prison scene was shot entirely at an apartment complex in Marrakech.
While filming, John Hannah sprained his wrist and had to wear a brace on it, which shows up during his final scenes.
The scenes showing the Cairo streets were shots of a souk in Marrakesh that was so expansive that the actors and crew were warned not to wander too far from the set or risk getting lost.
The line "think of my children!" given by Beni in the scene aboard the riverboat was ad-libbed by Kevin J. O'Connor.
Jonathan Hyde's close-up scene during the locust swarm had to be re-shot several times; he could not keep a straight face with so many locusts crawling all over him.
Despite the name, the title character was never mummified. His followers were, but he was subjected to a very different death.
Ardeth Bay, an anagram of Death By Ra, is the name of a sworn protector of mankind from the mummy Imhotep. However, in The Mummy (1932), Ardath Bey is the alter-ego of the mummy Imhotep (played by Boris Karloff) when he attempts to pass for a modern Egyptian (note the difference in the spelling of both names).
Kevin J. O'Connor had been roughed up so much during the filming of the scene with Beni in the Egyptologist's office that he was badly bruised and his nipples had to be iced afterward.
In the original script, Evy was supposed to say, "He's gorgeous" when she first sees the fully resurrected Imhotep. The line was filmed, but removed from the final cut.
During the filming of the scene in which hail and fire fall down on Cairo, dried dog food was painted white and used as balls of hail, thrown down on the set.
When Clive Barker was attached to the project, The film was intended to be a low budget horror film. Barker's vision for the film was violent, with the story revolving around the head of a contemporary art museum who turns out to be a cultist trying to reanimate mummies. George A. Romero was brought in with a vision of a zombie-style horror movie similar to Night of the Living Dead (1968), but this was considered too scary.
The presence of living scarabs after centuries of isolation from food sources was better explained in an early version of the script; Imhotep was cursed to live forever when some of the sacred scarabs force themselves down his throat; and by eating him, the scarabs themselves were also cursed with everlasting life.
The plastic dummies used as dessicated corpses in the film to represent the Mummy's victims are the same as those used in the cult 1980s sci-fi film Lifeforce (1985). One character even refers to the Mummy sucking the 'lifeforce' out of people.
For the television broadcast version of the film, a small bikini was painted onto Anck-su-namun's body.
The locusts shown in the scene at Hamunaptra were mostly computer-generated, but a number of live grasshoppers were used for the shot; the grasshoppers were chilled in a refrigerator to make them more sluggish and easy to film.
When Jonathan accidentally brings the military mummies to life and they go after O'Connell, Brendan Fraser runs across skeletons that are floating in water to get away from the mummies while making the same sort of noise that his character George makes from George of the Jungle (1997).
The name of Oded Fehr's character, Ardeth Bay, isn't used once throughout the entire movie until the end credits. It isn't until the next movie, The Mummy Returns (2001), that his name is used aloud.
Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris O'Donnell and Matthew McConaughey were considered for the role of Rick O'Connell.
The last cinema film of Bernard Fox.
In the scene on the riverboat, Beni is thrown overboard and into the river by O'Connell; during filming, Kevin J. O'Connor helped Brendan Fraser to appear as though he was throwing him overboard by jumping up.
The shots of Giza port were shot in England and edited digitally to show the pyramids and Nile.
In some scenes, characters who speak Arabic can be heard saying the same lines with different subtitles. This isn't as much a mistake as it is a throwback to the hero movies of old, in which foreign characters would say their lines in a different language to put up the illusion that they were speaking in said language.
The white cat seen in Evelyn's apartment is given no name in the film, but in the movie novelisation the cat's name is revealed to be Cleo.
The building used for the Cairo Museum was an actual government building in Marrakesh.
The children shown in the shots of the Bedouin trading outpost, as well as the shots of the Royal Air Force runways were local Marrakesh children.
Blixa Bargeld, of the German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, is credited as having provided the "spirit voices".
This was the first theatrical film to be broadcast on the WB television network.
Before Brendan Fraser, the role of Rick' O'Connel was offered to Sylvester Stallone.
One of the unforeseen problems with shooting in the desert was that the sand would cause all the guns to jam. The firing of the weapons would be later filled in ILM.
$20 million of the film's budget was set aside for the elaborate special effects.
Omid Djalili's film debut.
The scene of the Cairo Prison was shot on the very first day of filming in Marrakesh.
Brendan Fraser's camel during filming was named Barney.
A different take of Ardeth Bay's introduction scene on top of the mountain was used later in the film when O'Connell and crew are crossing the desert at night. This time, the lighting was adjusted accordingly.
Anna Friel was considered for the role of Evelyn Carnahan.
Arnold Vosloo understood the approach that Stephen Sommers was going for in his screenplay, but only agreed to take on the role of Imhotep "if I could do it absolutely straight. From Imhotep's point of view, this is a skewed version of 'Romeo and Juliet'."
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Stephen Sommers cast Rachel Weisz after seeing her performance in The Land Girls (1998).
Brendan Fraser was cast due to the success of George of the Jungle (1997). Stephen Sommers also commented that he felt Fraser fit the Errol Flynn swashbuckling character he had envisioned perfectly. The actor understood that his character "doesn't take himself too seriously, otherwise the audience can't go on that journey with him".
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To create the Mummy, John Andrew Berton Jr. used a combination of live action and computer graphics. Then, he matched the digital prosthetic make-up pieces on Arnold Vosloo's face during filming. Berton said, "When you see his film image, that's him. When he turns his head and half of his face is missing and you can see right through on to his teeth, that's really his face. And that's why it was so hard to do." Vosloo described the filming as a "whole new thing" for him; "They had to put these little red tracking lights all over my face so they could map in the special effects. A lot of the time I was walking around the set looking like a Christmas tree."
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Clive Barker, Joe Dante and George A. Romero were each attached to direct at different points. Wes Craven was also offered the job.
To avoid dehydration in the scorching heat of the Sahara, the production's medical team created a drink that the cast and crew had to consume every two hours. Sandstorms were daily inconveniences. Snakes, spiders and scorpions were a major problem, with many crew members having to be airlifted out after being bitten.
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The production had the official support of the Moroccan army, and the cast members had kidnapping insurance taken out on them, a fact Stephen Sommers disclosed to the cast only after shooting had finished.
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John Sayles did an uncredited rewrite.
Stephen Dunham auditioned for the role of Rick O'Connell. He was rejected, but Stephen Sommers liked his acting so much that he made up the character Mr. Henderson just for Stephen Dunham.
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Rachel Weisz was not a big fan of horror films but did not see this film as such. As she said in an interview, "It's hokum, a comic book world."
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Joe Dante's version would have cast Daniel Day-Lewis as the mummy. This version (co-written by John Sayles) was set in contemporary times and focused on reincarnation with elements of a love story. It came close to being made with some elements, like the flesh-eating scarabs, making it to the final product. However, at that point, the studio wanted a film with a budget of $15 million and rejected Dante's version.
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Clive Barker's vision for the film was violent, with the story revolving around the head of a contemporary art museum who turns out to be a cultist trying to reanimate mummies. James Jacks recalls that Barker's take was "dark, sexual and filled with mysticism", and that, "it would have been a great low-budget movie". After several meetings, Barker and Universal lost interest and parted company.
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The crew could not shoot in Egypt because of the unstable political conditions.
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Stephen Sommers described his vision of the film as "as a kind of Indiana Jones or Jason and the Argonauts (1963) with the mummy as the creature giving the hero a hard time"
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Rachel Weisz was the only actress offered her part.
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Kevin J. O'Connor, who plays Beni, previously appeared in Law & Order: The Troubles (1991), in Law & Order's first season. That episode, like this movie, features a character named O'Connell who is generally addressed by surname only.
Stephen Sommers toyed with the idea of opening the film with the old Universal film logo, which would dissolve into the desert sun. He'd later use that opening for Van Helsing (2004) (though the logo would turn into the flame from a torch instead).
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Imhotep was to read the opening voice over. But when Stephen Sommers realised that he shouldn't know how to speak English, the narration was given to Ardeth instead.
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Evey and Jonathan were originally to be the children of George Herbert, Lord of Carnarvon - the man who discovered King Tutankhamen's tomb (the man's daughter was indeed called Evelyn). But the only evidence of this in the final film is Evey saying that her father was "a very famous adventurer", and her last name is Carnahan rather than Herbert.
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Production Designer Allan Cameron found a dormant volcano near Erfoud where the entire set for Hamunaptra could be constructed. Stephen Sommers liked the location because, "A city hidden in the crater of an extinct volcano made perfect sense. Out in the middle of the desert you would never see it. You would never think of entering the crater unless you knew what was inside that volcano." A survey of the volcano was conducted so that an accurate model and scale models of the columns and statues could be replicated back at Shepperton Studios, where all of the scenes involving the underground passageways of the City of the Dead were shot. These sets took 16 weeks to build, and included fiberglass columns rigged with special effects for the movie's final scenes. Another large set was constructed in the United Kingdom on the dockyard at Chatham which doubled for the Giza Port on the River Nile. This set was 600 feet (183 m) in length and featured "a steam train, an Ajax traction engine, three cranes, an open two-horse carriage, four horse-drawn carts, five dressing horses and grooms, nine pack donkeys and mules, as well as market stalls, Arab-clad vendors and room for 300 costumed extras".
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The filmmakers reportedly spent $15 million of the $80 million budget on special effects, provided by Industrial Light & Magic.
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While the film made extensive use of computer generated imagery, many scenes, including ones where Evelyn is covered with rats and locusts, were real, using live animals.
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Kevin J. O'Connor had a dimmer switch in his wardrobe to put the torch he holds out.
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From the beginning, Stephen Sommers didn't want a guy shuffling around in bandages. Motion capture was chosen so that Imhotep would move as a human, not a magical being.
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Stephen Sommers was inspired by the films of Michael Curtiz.
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Since no one was used to acting across from "nothing", the actors were shown pictures of Arnold Vosloo in full Mummy look to inspire fear.
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The zombified townspeople in the movie are a sly nod to the angry villagers in classic horror films.
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Some cast members actually thought the movie was cursed when the film broke at the premiere.
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Fort Brydon is an homage to The Jungle Book (1994), another film directed by Stephen Sommers. In it, there is a Colonel Brydon.
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The effects team was told "no gore" when designing the look of the Mummy. They actually did tests for "grossness threshold."
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As the effects team designed the Mummy, they liked his transparency so they "removed" his organs.
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Stephen Sommers has said that The Mummy (1932) was the one movie that scared him as a kid. He was only eight when he saw it and wanted to recreate the things he liked about it on a bigger scale.
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This was Oded Fehr's first big screen role.
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George A. Romero's version was a vision of a zombie-style horror movie similar to Night of the Living Dead (1968), but which also relied heavily upon elements of tragic romance and ambivalence of identity. Romero completed a draft in October 1994, cowritten with Alan Ormsby and John Sayles, that revolved around female archaeologist Helen Grover and her discovery in Abydos of the tomb of Imhotep, an Egyptian general who lived in the time of Ramesses II. Unfolding in a nameless American city in modern times, events are set into motion when Imhotep inadvertently awakens as a result of his preserved cadaver having been exposed to rays from an MRI scan in a high-tech forensic archaeology lab. The script then progresses to a fish-out-of-water story when Imhotep, having regained his youthful appearance, recognizes the need to adapt to a contemporary society that is three thousand years removed from the one he came from. Assuming at first that he is a representative from the Bureau of Antiquities, Helen finds herself drawn into a tentative relationship with Imhotep while also experiencing clairvoyant flashbacks to a previous life in Nineteenth Dynasty Egypt as a priestess of Isis. Summoning mystical powers through incantation, Imhotep later resurrects the mummy of Karis, a loyal slave whose body had been resting alongside his master's in the same tomb but is now held in the local museum. After escaping into the city sewer system, Karis embarks on a vengeful rampage against the various criminal fences and high society antiquarians who had acquired stolen relics from his tomb. Romero's script was considered too dark and violent by James Jacks and the studio, who wanted a more accessible picture. Compounding the issue was the fact that Romero was unable to extricate from a contract for a different film project he had in negotiation at the time with MGM, and so his involvement with the film was severed and the development of an entirely new script was commissioned to other writers.
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According to Stephen Sommers, the average special effect cost was $125K per shot.
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There really was an Ancient Egyptian man called Imhotep, however, as far as anyone knows, he was not the villain portrayed in the movie, but rather an architect and physician who was more likely revered than despised.
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According to Stephen Sommers, the hardest thing about the movie was the blend of humour and horror: He said, "I didn't set out to make a straight horror movie."
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It took three months for the animation supervisor to complete the musculature for Imhotep's body.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The character Ardeth Bay was originally scripted to die at the end of the film. This was changed by director Stephen Sommers because he though the character was "too heroic to be killed off."
The scene where O'Connell saves Evelyn from the sacrificial slab was filmed with Brendan Fraser fighting against invisible mummies. He meticulously choreographed his every movement, and all mummies were later added to the shot with computer-generated imagery, matching his moves.
During the filming of the scene with scarabs eating his brain, Omid Djalili acted out his character's pain so much that he had ended up tearing his own shorts off.
The location shown in the scene where Imhotep and his minions corner the protagonists was an actual entrance to a thirteenth-century graveyard in Marrakesh. In the shots of the graveyard entrance, a manhole cover was used for the surviving protagonists to escape; the manhole was constructed for the film and had a large pad inside so that the actors would land on the pad and not hurt themselves.
The scene where Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) has Evelyn (Rachel Weisz) chained to a sacrificial slab to resurrect Anck-Su-Namun took nine days to film.
The lever-triggered slowly settling stone megaliths with sand pouring out like water, from which the characters must escape or be entombed alive, are based upon Howard Hawks' Land of the Pharaohs (1955), where Pharaoh Cheops's tomb is constructed to be sealed in this manner after he is placed within. Historically no such sophisticated engineering technology was ever employed.
Look closely when Imhotep is strangling O'Connell just before his immortality is taken away from him; O'Connell's face is turning blue from asphyxiation.
A scene deleted from the film showed Rick, Evelyn and Jonathan crossing a field full of skeletons (belonging to Rick's fellow soldiers from the foreign legion and other fortune-seekers) before entering Hamunaptra. Another sequence that was cut occurred while Rick and Jonathan are trying to pry the chest containing the Book of Amun-Ra from the statue of Horus: suddenly, several mummies break through the floor and attack, but they quickly turn their attention to the chest. They open it and are immediately doused by pressurized acid. This scene explains why a hole in the floor suddenly appears between shots in the movie.

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