Brendan Fraser Interview - Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
Brendan Fraser stated that it's a happy coincidence that the movie is set in _______________ and the eyes of the world are upon it at the moment.
Going back into this franchise, how easy is it to fall into this character?
Brendan Fraser: "Piece of cake. Like falling off a log. I couldn't wait to do this and had to for seven years. And I was running out of excuses. People were going, 'Hey Brendan, when's the next Mummy movie? When's the next Mummy movie?' I said, 'I don't know! I'm waiting for the call.'"
What took so long?
Brendan Fraser: "You know, honestly, that's someone farther up the food chain than I am to be able to answer that question. But it doesn't really matter so much as the fact that that time has gone by. CGI has come to such a place right now - as we discussed - with the advent of 3D, if you can imagine it, you can put it on the screen. And so where do you go from there? Well, you bring the audience into the world of the movie, and that's what we did with Journey to the Center of the Earth. But with Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, again it's endowed with incredible CGI. That's what the audience expects. That's an element of the entertainment value that they paid for to come and see. So during the interim, the seven years that it's been since we did the last picture, like I said anything at all is possible."
"That also gave us enough time to take advantage of a new audience also coming of age. It's not compulsory to have seen the first two pictures. This one stands on its own. I know I'm supposed to say this stuff, but it's really exciting, dynamic filmmaking. It has a sense of humor about itself. Never fails to deliver on the cliffhanger moments. It's a happy coincidence that it's set in China and the eyes of the world are upon it at the moment."
Brendan Fraser: "Yeah. Call that dumb luck or whatever you want but the point is, we're able to take advantage of a lot of really positive energy. And in creating the heavy in a despotic emperor who ruled some 2,000 years ago and his army was cursed for doing a naughty thing… Usually it has something to do about a girl, like in those movies, and they became the Terra Cotta warriors. So, those of us who do know – who are archaeology buffs or wannabes like myself – hey, those really exist. And it's a little bit creepy to me, this is just me, that they all have different faces. You know, it's a little [makes freaky noises]. Why? Well maybe because they took 40 years to make different faces. I don't know. Whatever. But it's fun source material for a movie."
You mentioned the CGI but it doesn't overwhelm the character development, the character story in this, right?
Brendan Fraser: "You can't have that. You can't. If you don't care about the people in the movie, then you're just watching a CGI exhibition. That's fun on the 4th of July, you go watch fireworks. But if you don't care about the people in the movie, if you don't have something to identify with – in this case it's fathers and sons knocking skulls... I mean, come on, who can't identify with that? It's about searching for lost love. It's about reuniting a family, saving the world. You know, who are you going to call?"
And you have a new director [Rob Cohen] on this one so how difficult was it to make the transition to a new guy, or was it?
Brendan Fraser: "There was no difficulty whatsoever given that Rob… Well, Steve Sommers godfathered the picture and devised the premise, and executive produced it from afar. He did what the best directors do which is hire the right people, stand aside, and let them do the job and do it well. And in that he chose a director, who's Rob, who knows how to move big set pieces just like Steve does. Oh, I should mention also it's interesting, it's no coincidence that when Rob was a student at Harvard, he was an archaeology major with an interest in Chinese studies. So it was a passion piece for him to be able to bring this together. So what can I say? On top of that, he's fearless. This is the largest picture ever shot on Chinese soil. It's a Western production. The cooperative elements that go into that…if you think about the hurdles and the red tape and things that I really can't answer to, but I just do know that there's a common vocabulary in filmmaking that to my eye and experience seems to be universal. It transcends the boundaries of the fact that there were five working languages on the set, the locations were difficult to get to. In the end filmmaking is about, 'Hey, we're only here once. Suck it up. Do this the right way. Get the job done,' because it's going to last forever if you're doing the job right."
One last question: Is there a Mummy 4 in you?
Brendan Fraser: "I'll see if there's enough fluid in my knees."
If your body can take it.
Brendan Fraser: "Right. I'm leaving my options open. Thanks for asking though."