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The Mummy (1999) Poster

(1999)

Trivia

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Brendan Fraser nearly died during a scene where his character is hanged. Rachel Weisz remembered, "He [Fraser] stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated."
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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 4 hours to apply.
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An Egyptologist was brought in to phonetically render what Ancient Egyptian might have sounded like for the dialogue.
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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.
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According to director Stephen Sommers, Universal phoned him the morning after this movie was released and said, "We need another one."
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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.
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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.
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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).
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The library disaster was done in one take. It would have taken an entire day to re-shoot if a mistake had been made.
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"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". However, as far as anyone knows, he was not a despised villain as portrayed in the movie, but much more likely revered as the architect and physician he was.
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The Medjai were originally supposed to be tattooed from head to toe, but Stephen Sommers vetoed it because he thought Oded Fehr was "too good-looking" to be covered up.
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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.
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When King Tutankhamen's tomb was found on November 4, 1922, the person in charge was Howard Carter employed & funded by George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. His daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert accompanied him to Egypt to view the discovery. 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.
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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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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 and put in his tomb.
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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.
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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.
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While filming, John Hannah sprained his wrist and had to wear a brace on it, which shows up during his final scenes.
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The prison scene was shot entirely at an apartment complex in Marrakech.
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Leonardo DiCaprio was rumored 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. However, filming of The Beach was delayed anyway.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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The line "think of my children!" given by Beni in the scene aboard the riverboat was ad-libbed by Kevin J. O'Connor.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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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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 that language.
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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 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.
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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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According to Stephen Sommers, the average special effect cost was $125K per shot.
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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.
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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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The crew could not shoot in Egypt because of the unstable political conditions.
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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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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.
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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).
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As the effects team designed the Mummy, they liked his transparency so they "removed" his organs.
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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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Despite the name, the title character was never mummified. His followers were, but he was subjected to a very different death.
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Rachel Weisz was the only actress offered her part.
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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.
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The last cinema film of Bernard Fox.
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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.
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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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This was Oded Fehr's first big screen role.
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Although the American O'Connell could certainly serve in the French Foreign Legion he could not be a Lieutenant as depicted in the movie. Officers in the Legion are required to be French nationals. As an American, O'Connell would not be eligible for a commission.
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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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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 him.
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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.
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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.
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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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For the television broadcast version of the film, a small bikini was painted onto Anck-su-namun's body.
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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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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.
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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 building used for the Cairo Museum was an actual government building in Marrakesh.
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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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Blixa Bargeld, of the German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, is credited as having provided the "spirit voices".
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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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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.
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The scene of the Cairo Prison was shot on the very first day of filming in Marrakesh.
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$20 million of the film's budget was set aside for the elaborate special effects.
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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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It took three months for the animation supervisor to complete the musculature for Imhotep's body.
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This was the first theatrical film to be broadcast on the WB television network.
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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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The shots of Giza port were shot in England and edited digitally to show the pyramids and Nile.
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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.
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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.
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Stephen Sommers cast Rachel Weisz after seeing her performance in The Land Girls (1998).
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Some cast members actually thought the movie was cursed when the film broke at the premiere.
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Arnold Vosloo and Oded Fehr have both played Mossad officers on the TV series NCIS.
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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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Arnold Vosloo and Oded Fehr both played warlocks on the series "Charmed."
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Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris O'Donnell and Matthew McConaughey were considered for the role of Rick O'Connell. Cruise would later star as the lead in the reboot The Mummy (2017).
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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.
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The collapsing bookshelves in the library set up the destruction of Hamunaptra at the end, especially the falling pillars.
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Brendan Fraser's camel during filming was named Barney.
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The novelization gives some details that probably would have been difficult to convey in the movie, such as some of the Carnahans' backstory and the cause and effect of their parents' deaths. Among other things, pouring the scarabs into Imhotep's sarcophagus wasn't just to torture him further; it's an essential part of the ritual that they would eat his flesh, and when he became desperate he would eat them, and this would continue for years. This dark mockery of the cycle of life was an important aspect of making him immortal so that he would suffer forever. There was a lot more detail in the original script that was cut for pacing, including an expansion on Imhotep's backstory, the rest of the plagues, and tidbit explanations on minor issues
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The revolvers O'Connell carries throughout the movie are model 1873 11mm Chamelot-Delvigne pistols. He also uses a Winchester 1897 shotgun.
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Before Brendan Fraser, the role of Rick' O'Connell was offered to Sylvester Stallone.
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Stephen Sommers was inspired by the films of Michael Curtiz.
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Jonathan Hyde and Bernard Fox had previously worked together in James Cameron's blockbuster Titanic in 1997.
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The prison warden, Gad Hassan, is portrayed by Omid Dajili, who is British. He is a comedian who made his acting debut in this movie.
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The bronze sword that Rick wields during the climax of the movie, as well as the bronze khopesh used by the soldier mummies, are considerably bigger and longer than their historical counterparts. Not only would a bronze sword like that be absurdly heavy, a sword that long would easily bend during battle.
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Jonathans car is a Humber 16/50.
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At 1h 44m 57s Imhotep appears to grab Jonathan Carnahan by the throat and lift him up the wall. In reality, the actor is lifting himself up by having one foot on an apple box.
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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.
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Anna Friel was considered for the role of Evelyn Carnahan.
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when Rick jumps off the boat after telling the Egyptian warden "Wait here! I'll go get help!" was added at the last minute after Stephen Sommers realized he didn't write how the warden was supposed to get off the boat.
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The Book of the Dead and the Book of Amun-Ra are both made to look like a bunch of black stone and gold (respectively) tablets bound together in a form resembling a codex (a modern-day book). The Ancient Egyptians would have written their books on papyrus scrolls. Even if they could make the books the way they're depicted, the Book of Amun-Ra would never have been made out of pure gold--it would have been obscenely heavy.
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John Sayles did an uncredited rewrite.
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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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Jonathan identifies the plague of boils as the final plague. Biblically, the final plague was the death of the firstborn sons, which never happens in the movie. Given that the death of the firstborn is controversial even within some parts of the Christian Church, it was probably cut for not being family friendly.
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At one point Bruce Campbell and Kurt Russell were considered for the role of Rick O'Connell.
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Winstons biplane is a Stampe SV4A (modified) marked B5539.
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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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Rick tells Evelyn that his military garrison reached Hamunaptra in 1923 by marching across Libya. The name Libya is historically inaccurate. In 1923 (and in 1926 when Rick talks to Evelyn), that territory was known as Italian North Africa. The Italian government would not give it the name "Libya" until 1934.
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Terence Bey refers to the plagues of Egypt when scolding Evy for destroying the library, and she herself later refers to them about an hour into the film when telling the others about the Hom Dai. Imhotep brought these plagues back with him when he was resurrected.
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Burns's first line is that he needs his glasses or he can't see. Sure enough he loses his glasses when fleeing from the locusts, Beni steps on them, and he is the first one to get killed by Imhotep.
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Actor Jonathan Hyde, who, in this film, portrays a British Egyptologist is, in fact, an Australian. He was born in the city of Brisbane, which is the capital city of the state of Queensland.
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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.
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While Evie is fighting Anuk-Su-Namun, Jonathan is trying to read the spell and gets hung up on the symbol of a stork. Evie tells him it means "Amenophus." (A similar scene also plays out in the sequel, "The Mummy Returns" (2001).) In the original "The Mummy" (1932) upon which this was based, Amenophus was the name of Anuk-Su-Namun's father, making her the Pharoah's daughter instead of his wife-to-be. (In the 1932 version, the names are pronounced differently; "Amenophus" is pronounced "AH-men-AH-foos", and "Anuk-Su-Namun" is pronounced "ah-NOK-soo-NAH-moon.")
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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 thought the character was "too heroic to be killed off."
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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.
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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.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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In the original script, Jonathan's attempts to read the Book of the Dead unwittingly caused the huge statue of Anubis to come to life and start attacking Rick. This was rejected for being too expensive to realize on-screen, and replaced by having Jonathan unwittingly re-animate the Pharoah's guards instead.
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The sword Imhotep takes from Pharaoh Seti I and kills him with, is the same sword Rick uses at the end to kill imhopteps priests and soldiers, and ironically kill Imhotep himself with.
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Terence Bey deliberately burns the map, which hints at his true allegiance later in the film.
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Anck-Su-Namun's second death is shot almost exactly like her first; her shadow is cast upon the wall while she doubles up as a weapon is driven into her stomach. Only this time, instead of killing herself, she's being stabbed and then hacked to pieces by the mummy guards.
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In the beginning, during the French Foreign Legion battle, Beni cowardly runs and closes the door on Rick mirrors the ending when Beni tries to escape and Rick tries to help him but the walls close in between them trapping Beni and leaving him to his fate being eaten by the scarab beetles.
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The prison warden showing awe at the scarabs and wondering what they are sets up how Jonathan, while helping Rick and Ardeth to rescue Evy, will later do the same. The warden dies, but Jonathan survives.
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When Evy and Jonathan show Terence Bey the map, lines of dialogue from Jonathan refer to the treasure chamber at Hamunaptra and how the city would sink into the ground at the flip of a switch. This is seen and goes on to happen at the end of the film.
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In the prologue, Anck-su-Namun stabs herself in the stomach. Imhotep gets killed at the end by being stabbed through the stomach.
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After Jonathan gains control of the remaining mummified soldiers and sics them on Anck-Su-Namun, Imhotep conveniently forgets that he has God-like powers and could have easily dispatched them to save her, but instead tries to take the Golden Book from Jonathan in an attempt to reverse the spell. However, he is not fast enough, and Anck-Su-Namun is killed (again).
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At 1hr 36mins) Evie says to Beni at Hamunaptra, "You know, nasty little fellows such as yourself always get their comeuppance.", To which Beni replies "they do?" to which Evie assures him by saying, "yes, always" foreshadows Beni's death at the end when he gets eaten alive by hundreds of scarab beetles.
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Rick's forced kiss to Evy while imprisoned early on sets up how the two will end up together at the end of the film and the sequels, as does the later scene of Evy nearly falling asleep on Rick's shoulder while riding camels and when Evy is very drunk and passes out before she can kiss Rick.
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Even though O'Connell wasn't one of the treasurer hunters who opened the chest, its unknown if Imhotep would've killed him, like the three other Americans and the professor.
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See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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