“You got to write a movie for him”: Brendan Fraser Wasn’t the Only Star Who Had Universal Wrapped Around His Pinky after The Mummy

Brendan Fraser has been seeing a revival in his career after he won the Oscar for his role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. However, the actor will always be known for his role as Rick O’Connell in the horror adventure film The Mummy. Directed by Stephen Sommers, the film made him a bonafide star and turned the franchise into a huge asset for Universal Studios.

While Fraser shot to worldwide fame with The Mummy and its sequel The Mummy Returns, the latter also turned another upcoming actor into a star. Dwayne Johnson, who was a rising star at WWE at the time, made a cameo as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns, leading him to receive his own spinoff film a year later.

Dwayne Johnson’s Cameo Inspired The Mummy Filmmaker To Write A Solo Film

Dwayne Johnson in a scene from The Scorpion King
Dwyane Johnson in The Scorpion King

Dwayne Johnson is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood right now. The actor has delivered multiple blockbusters such as the Fast & Furious franchise, Jumanji, and others. Despite his reputation for being tardy, the actor has turned himself into a mogul of sorts with his various business ventures and reentry into the WWE.

While The Rock is a huge worldwide star, he was not that well-known outside the WWE circle when he made his debut as the Scorpion King in the Brendan Fraser starrer The Mummy Returns. The sequel to Universal Studios’ hit The Mummy, the film saw the Rock play a warrior who gives his soul to Anubis in exchange for a future revival.

“He was written as a 70-year-old Black man”: The Mummy Director Made a Major Casting Change After Failing to Secure a Star Wars Legend for the Movie

“He was written as a 70-year-old Black man”: The Mummy Director Made a Major Casting Change After Failing to Secure a Star Wars Legend for the Movie

Director Stephen Sommers, who made both films, mentioned that he was not aware of Dwayne Johnson at the time but was extremely impressed with his performance. He said to The Hollywood Reporter,

“He was great. I had never heard of the guy, but then they sent me some footage of him, and he was just perfect. I had to shoot so fast with him because he flew into Marrakesh on Wednesday, and he had to be in Detroit for a WWE thing on Saturday. But boy, was he a trooper.” 

Dwayne Johnson in a scene from The Scorpion King
A still from The Scorpion King

The filmmaker mentioned that Universal was extremely happy with the performance of  Dwayne Johnson despite it being his debut film role. Sommers mentioned that the studio was so impressed with the actor that they asked the filmmaker to write a movie with him as the lead actor.

“As soon as the studio saw the dailies, the president of Universal was calling me up and saying, ‘You got to write a movie for him.’ Somehow over the next week or so, I came up with this idea that became the Scorpion King movie.”

The actor has been in many other blockbusters of Universal Studios since then. The actor joined the Fast & Furious franchise from Fast Five and even received a spinoff film titled Hobbs & Shaw. He also starred in films such as Skyscraper and Central Intelligence which were successful for the studio.

Brendan Fraser Passed Out On The Sets Of The Mummy

Brendan Fraser as Rick O'Connell in The Mummy
Brendan Fraser in The Mummy

While Dwyane Johnson may have been the breakout star of The Mummy Returns, the franchise belonged to Brendan Fraser who reportedly went above and beyond to perfectly embody the Indiana Jones-esque Rick O’Connell. The actor reportedly did many of his stunts and took a beating during high-octane action sequences.

“She made the choice that was right for her”: Brendan Fraser Didn’t Lament Rachel Weisz Quitting The Mummy Franchise


However, one of the most dangerous sequences in which the actor put his life on the line was the hanging scene in The Mummy. During the climax, the actor is hung from rope by the Mummy army as they gear up to sacrifice Rachel Weisz’s Evelyn. Stephen Sommers mentioned that Fraser volunteered to make the noose a lot tighter while filming (via THR).

“We had a great stunt team, but Brendan is a big, tough guy, and he was younger back then. We kind of beat the crap out of him. Everybody talks about the scene when he gets hung. Usually, when somebody gets hung, it’s a dummy, and that’s why they put bags over people’s heads. Brendan was always gung-ho, and he was like, ‘Make the noose really tight on me.’ Then he decided to let his knees sag a little bit.”

However, the request reportedly worked against the actor as he passed out after ten seconds on the rope. Though Brendan Fraser got up a few seconds later, it was reportedly a dangerous stunt that concerned the entire set for a second. Sommers mentioned,

“But what he forgot is that the minute you put that much pressure on your carotid arteries, it knocks you out. We all looked, and he’s completely unconscious. It was fine, and he recovered in 10 seconds. But he woke up like, ‘What happened?’”

Sommers also said that Fraser was committed to the role and took many tumbles while filming key action sequences in the movie.

The Mummy franchise is streaming on Peacock.

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