Excited about the fact that the title antagonist in The Mummy is a woman? Then send your thank you card to X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Until he saw that movie, Mummy director Alex Kurtzman had every intention to keep the bad guy, well, a guy. But luckily, as Kurtzman told CinemaBlend‘s Eric Eisenberg, he stayed to watch the tag after the ending credits.
The idea was to have a man who was born with a different skin pigmentation than everyone else, and because of that, he became sort of an outcast.
“I thought it was an interesting backstory because it began to tell the story of someone who had been bullied, which I found topical. I was researching for a way to make the Mummy a character who is relatable, understandable, and that spoke to issues that we’re dealing with now.”
Except Bryan Singer changed all that. In the post-credits scene of the 2014 movie, we get what is supposed to be our first major tease for this past year’s X-Men: Apocalypse. The moment Kurtzman saw this, he knew he’d have to run back to the drawing board.
“I was going down that road, and then I saw the end of Days of Future Past. And they had the character that Oscar Isaac wound up playing as a boy, and it was – I kid you not – the exact same design. And I was like, ‘Oh man! That is not good!’
“And actually, it was the catalyst. It was the moment of, ‘OK, not only is this not going to be different enough, Bryan Singer just did it, I didn’t don’t want to go down that road.’
“I had had that voice in my head for some time to make it a woman, and that was the moment where, the minute I saw that post-credits scene, I went, ‘We have to start over.'”
That ended up being great news for Sofia Boutella, who got her first major break in a film from Kurtzman’s other franchise, Star Trek: Beyond. That opened the door to change things up, and ensure the battle between Tom Cruise and a mummy was not a sausage fest. It also let Kurtzman really explore the Mummy franchise in a way that hadn’t been done in any of the previous movies, even going back to the 1932 Boris Karloff original.
“Once we took that leap, the story presented itself in such a beautiful way, such a different way. A lot of the decisions, you spend a lot of time talking to people, and you think it through as much as you can. But ultimately, it comes down to what feels right.
“And the minute I allowed myself to let the Mummy be Ahmanet, it just felt right. And that’s the best way for me to say it.”
You can check out Sofia Boutella in action as The Mummy in the first trailer. And be sure to look for Kurtzman’s finished work on June 9.
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