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New trailer for The Mummy hits, plus details on the film from Alex Kurtzman!

The classic Universal Monsters have always had a special place in my heart. DRACULA, THE WOLF MAN, THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, all of these iconic images haunted my childhood in the best of ways. So when it was rumored that we would be getting a brand new franchise to bring all the classics together, I was equally excited, and perhaps a whole lot concerned. With several attempts at bringing classic beats to the big screen failing miserably, I had a real fear whether or not we would ever see this actually transpire in a way that will truly thrill audiences.

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

Recently, a small group of journalists were invited to get an early look at the trailer for the first in this return to the classics. And that particular title is THE MUMMY. Directed by Alex Kurtzman, I happen to be pretty ecstatic to see a return of the bandaged baddie, one that has hopefully a little more meat than the Brendan Fraser flicks - I wasn’t a huge fan of those. And thankfully, I’m pleasantly surprised by what I saw. While this teaser is seemingly more than just a typical teaser - we were calling it a teasler during the event - I feel like we could be in for something that is a perfect mix of popcorn flick and huge action-set-piece. And yes, I’m even more pumped to see Tom Cruise battling a supernatural force.

Aside from the trailer, we also had the opportunity to see a few extra minutes of put together footage. And while this won’t be going public, it struck me as to how much this seemingly compares to the tone of the classic films. Sure, there is a massive difference between the two time periods, but I truly appreciate the merging of practical effects with CGI. And as for THE MUMMY herself, it appears to me that you couldn’t ask for a better one than the intriguing Sofia Boutella. The actress exudes mystery, and from what we witnessed, she may be the perfect choice.

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

As far as the trailer is concerned, I am personally pleased with what I saw. The entire plane sequence looks mesmerizing. And let’s face it, whenever you put Cruise in a fast moving plane, something special usually comes from it. While we were allowed to see both the trailer and a short, yet more in-depth, look, Alex also showed us a behind the scenes featurette. The most important thing you could gather from that - aside from it looking like a blast to shoot - is once again the mix of practical effects and CGI. Lucky for audiences, they have released the trailer for you to get a look at tonight! So instead of dissecting the entire teaser, watch for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Generally when a studio presents a trailer to journalists early, you have a brief introduction and then you watch. Sometimes you have the opportunity to talk with somebody involved, but this particular afternoon was a little more in-depth. While watching the footage, Mr. Kurtzman was on hand to answer questions about what we witnessed in detail. This includes a very specific discussion on the rating, telling a story in hopes to create a brand new universe and just how much vomit shows up on-screen. So if you’d like to get a huge understanding of what went into the return of THE MUMMY, continue on for a very entertaining read. After watching the footage, and sitting with Alex, I am officially counting the days until I get to see the entire film.

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

Was there any debate on doing a tease to start things off?

It started as a teaser. It started as a teaser and what happened was, the more we kind of went through it, the more it felt like it was in the middle ground. Do we go all the way with enough information that you can actually write something about it, or make it such a teaser that you don’t really know what to say? And I think after a lot of conversation we went, “You know what? It’ll be a teaser and yet it’ll reveal enough for you.” So you’ll tell me. You’ll tell me what you think, but I think it still, for me, kind of falls under the category of teaser, given what’s actually in the movie.

We’ve all seen trailers that get better and better and better as they get closer to release, because your final VFX [are gradually completed]. We haven’t seen this yet but how much are you guys thinking, “We only have so many shots we can show in this thing, so…?

That for sure is a variable, only in that you don’t want to reveal [too much]. But for me, when I'm seeing something, especially the first time it goes out there, you get one chance to make a first impression. You know what I mean? And if that first impression is sort of like, “Well, I don’t know” then you’re losing right out of the gate. So rather than give you massive sequences that will literally take six months to render we said let’s build this around, again, enough of a tease that makes you interested in the movie, that sets a tone for what the movie will be, and also that’s achievable given what we have to do. This is a very small fraction of the VFX that are in the movie. That being said, our goal was to do as much practically as we could, and we really committed to that, and you’ll see that in some of the pieces that we’ve cut for you.

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

How much is that, nowadays? “As much practical effects as you could,” how much is that?

Well, I’ll give you a good example, and you’ll see it in a minute. So there’s a plane crash sequence and traditionally when you do a plane crash sequence inside of a plane, what the studio will tell you is, “Okay, fine, you’re going a rotisserie set and you’re going to do a lot of green screen work on the set and we’re going to do cables and blah-blah-blah,” right? Now to some extent, if you want it to be a visceral experience and you want to go there, you do need to build - at the very least - a rotisserie, which is essentially a massive set that rotates so you can have the visual experience of it, so the camera can move through that space steadily enough to capture all the actors tumbling all over the place. It’s the kind of thing that [Christopher] Nolan did in Inception, [Stanley] Kubrick pioneered it in 2001. It’s kind of the most immersive way to go. That being said, when I brought this up with Tom [Cruise], I said, “Here’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to build the set,” he said, “Yeah, yeah, but we’ve got to do it for real.” I was like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “We’re going to up in the vomit comet!” and I said, “What?” And he said, “We’re going to go up in the vomit comet. We’re going to go to the vomit comet and we’re going to shoot the whole sequence there too.” I said, “Yeah, but we can’t do it ALL in the vomit comet because the sequence is so extensive.” He said, “I know, we’re going to build that rotisserie set, we’re going to do part of it there and we’re going to do part of it in the vomit comet.” So that is what we did. So everything in that plane is totally practical and traditionally a lot of that would have been people on wires against a green screen. 

The funny part is, if you were to cost both at the end of the day, it actually is probably the same. So for what we wanted to do, which is put you guys in this totally immersive environment and make you feel like you were there, it’s those kinds of decisions that make a huge difference - huge, huge difference - just for the experience of a moment like that. Again, the choice of locations, because we ended up going to Africa, which doubles as both ancient Egypt and modern day Iraq, in Namibia where they shot Mad Max [Fury Road]. It’s the most… I mean, I don’t know if you’ve ever been, but it’s the most amazing place. It’s sort of like walking around the surface of the moon and the dunes go on forever. There’s just seas of sand dunes, they’re so gorgeous, and it’s about - again - immersing in that environment. Because I can tell you one thing I really did not want to do. Without revealing too much information, there are some pieces that take place in the past, and traditionally what you’ll see when you see those kinds of pieces are, “Here’s the big CG shot where we’re flying over Ancient Egypt and you’re seeing a big CG build of the city and you’re seeing the environment and you see the pyramids in the background!” and it’s the kind of vista shot that, if you look at it, you go, “I know that’s an entirely CG-created shot. There’s nothing about it that’s going to be real.” I wanted to go the other way and say, “If we’re going to do pyramids they’re going to be in the background, out of focus. I don’t care about the pyramids. I’m never going to impress an audience with pyramids. So what we will do is put the audience in a very subjective, visceral experience.” I’ll never be able to tell you what it was like in ancient Egypt because I’ve never been in ancient Egypt, but what I can do is, I can tie the point of view to my characters. So if I’m shooting it from their point of view - and I don’t mean a literal point of view [shot], I mean an experiential point of view, a kind of subjective, immersive reality - then that whole thing becomes grounded and real and emotional, and that’s the key. Like, the key for me is big objective wide shots - while necessary in place to sort of give you the scope of the movie and also set the geography of a scene up - are fine, but if that’s all you’re bringing to the table then you’re going to walk out feeling like, “Yeah, I saw that already,” you know?

[Announcement that trailer needs to start.]

So we’re good? We’re ready to go? So we jumped ahead to the interview already. But I’ll give you just a couple words. I’m going to show you three things today. The first is a trailer and the second is kind of piece to give you larger context and the third is a little bit of “making of.” I’m going to tell you why I’m here today and why I wanted you guys to be here today. I love monster movies, and there was sort of a defining moment for me when I was a kid, and it was when I saw Frankenstein. And I was very young when I saw Frankenstein and I saw the scene where Frankenstein makes friends with the little girl, and they share the flower and she throws it into the water, and he thinks that’s just how they’re playing so he picks her up and throws her into the water and she drowns. And as a kid, it was like a deeply emotional and very confusing experience, because I felt huge empathy for this monster and I was scared for him, and on the turn of a dime he killed this girl. Not because he was trying to but because he didn’t understand how to communicate with her. And it really wasn’t until around the 8th grade when I went into a major horror/slasher phase that I started understanding the distinction between a “monster movie” and horror movie and a slasher movie. Those are three very different things. And I think that what, for me, has always endured about the monster movies is that they are the only movies - there are exceptions, obviously, within every genre - but they’re the only movies where you are afraid of the monster and you are afraid FOR the monster. And what that does, for me, is it sort of reflects, I think, the parts of our personalities that are the parts that society wants to throw in a box and stamp down, and not let become expressed. I think that’s the monsters have always represented. They are these wonderful mirrors that reflect parts of who we are as people, and I think that the obligation of making a monster movie is to figure out a way to find empathy for the monster, to find empathy for all the other characters, but also to scare people. 

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

Now, why are you here today? I felt strongly that when I would talk to people and get feedback there was this sense of like, “Okay, we understand The Mummy as a title, we understand a studio wanting to make The Mummy, but why now? Why is it important? What’s going to be different about it than what came before?” And there are a bunch of things. First of all, no one has made a monster movie this large. Meaning, no one has made a good monster movie - a proper, Universal Monsters monster movie - with the size and scope that I think we’re going to deliver in this movie. Actually, I would say that the Brendan Fraser Mummy movie was sort of the first to kind of do that, in a real way, from a studio point of view, where they put real big dollars into a movie. Yet that is different than making The Purge, you know, or something like that. So it’s just a different experience, for a very different price point. When Universal came to me and said “We want to make a monster movie” my thought was incredible excitement and exhilaration at the idea of being able to do that thing, to make someone experience what I felt, what I experienced when I first saw Frankenstein or when I first saw The Mummy come alive as a kid, in the [Boris] Karloff movie. But I felt an obligation to make sure that what I understood a monster movie to be was carried out, and I didn’t know if they were going to say, “Well, the monster’s just going to have to be the straight-up villain.” Of course the monster has to be the villain! That’s part of what makes these movies these movies. But they actually gave us tremendous latitude to stay true to what I believe [monster movies] are about. 

So, tone. Tone is where the ballgame - as I think you guys know and often write about - is won or lost. You look at all the world-building universes these days from Marvel to DC to anything, and each one has its very specific tone. I think our tone… the first thing I felt was we have to go modern day. We have to go modern day and we have to make it feel grounded, and we have to make it feel… again, speaking to why we were going to a more practical than visual effects, I think if we can get an audience to feel what it would actually be like if a monster came into our world, as opposed to we’re just sort of watching this fake world on screen, that would be an achievement if we could get there. And when Tom came on board, Tom had all the same touch points as a kid that I did about monsters. Loved them. Was terrified of them. Hid under the bed from them. All the same things that I think we all feel when we think of the Universal Monster movies. And I don't know how many of you have talked to him or ever met him but he never does anything halfway, so if he’s in, it’s a thousand percent in, in the most intense way possible, and that was what was required for us to get where we need to go in this movie. 

So the first question I’m always asked is, “What is it? Is it the Brendan Fraser Mummy?” It’s not, and part of why you’re here today is I want to begin a discussion with you guys about where the tone lives, and not only where the tone lives for this movie, but people have also said, “What’s this bigger monster universe that you’re setting up?” and I’ve prepared a piece for you that will give you a sense of how this movie is going to exist in a larger context. So the first thing I’ll show you is the trailer. The trailer is like literally just finished. When I tell you that you're the first people in the world to see it, you guys are the first people in the world to see it. It’s going to be launched Sunday, I believe. It’s literally just finished, it’s still wet. And I think it’ll give you a bit of a sense of how we are different tonally, and after we watch that I’ll give you a little context for the next piece. 

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

[Trailer screens.]

What do you think? Teaser or trailer?

People like it when Tom Cruise is hanging from a plane. That works real, real well. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Tom Cruise scream in terror before?

Yeah, that’s right!

That was an interesting scream. What did you tell him about that scream?

I said, “Scream in terror.” 

That’s just what he does when he screams in terror? 

He was like, “Really?” and I said, “Yeah!” That part of it, there are - as I said - we shot in two different locations, and that part was actually on the rotisserie but you should have seen the crew when we were shooting on the vomit comet. Do you know how it works, the vomit comet? So you go up, basically with the G’s of a rocket going into space. Then you even out and everything starts to go weightless, and then you free-fall for 22 seconds and everybody goes up in the air. We had grips holding lights and puking while the shot was going on. I mean, it was the craziest experience ever and ultimately worth it because I think, again, our whole thing was “Let’s do this without cuts. Let’s really do this so that you can actually stay in this shot and watch these guys float around and go, ‘How the hell did they do it?’” 

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

Did the vomit ever get in the frame?

Here’s the thing, you have to take a bag with you and you have to hold it right here, and the hope is that when you do vomit you manage to grab all of it in the bag before the chunks float off into space.

So how many times did you do that vomit comet? How many times did you actually go up?

Sixteen parabolic arcs per flight over two days. So we did four flights, sixteen times each flight.

I want to ask about a shot in the trailer. We see what appears to be seven people dead, I think…?

Which shot are you talking about?

There’s a shot where everyone’s in the bags? It’s in the morgue, and Tom wakes up. So with that shot, what are you trying to tell us?

Well, here’s the thing that I think… I’m not going to answer your question directly, I’m going to answer it indirectly. When we were developing the script and I knew that Tom was going to do the movie, the first thing that we talked about was, I said, “Listen…” I’d worked with Tom on Mission [Impossible] III, and I said, “I have 30-plus years of embedded ‘Tom Cruise is going to save the day’ in my experience and my relationship to you, as an actor. And the problem is in a monster movie, the scariest monster movies are the ones where the protagonist starts to feel very out of control. So how am I going to believe that you’re really out of control, because I know you’re going to save the day, you know?” And what we came to is the idea that if you present him as somebody who thinks he knows what’s going on and then you throw the craziest thing at him in the world, which is “Oh shit, he dies and then comes back up in that morgue,” now I go, “Okay, he doesn’t know what he’s into, I don’t know what he’s into, I don’t know that he’s going to save the day.” And everything became very unpredictable at that point. So in terms of what I want the conversation to be about there, it’s interesting you said “Oh my god, I’ve never heard Tom scream in fear before.” That’s exactly it. That’s exactly it. He’s never been in that position before.

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

If Tom Cruise is coming back from the dead in this narrative, does that make him “The Mummy?”

Great question. [Long pause. Laughter]

In my experience there’s two strains of Mummy movies, there’s the original Boris Karloff, some of the Hammer films that have sort of an eerie supernatural presence, kind of a curse among a group of people, usually whoever dug him up…

Yes, the curse is a tenet of a mummy movie.

And then there’s other strain, which is sort of a more swashbuckling kind of Raiders [of the Lost Ark] type films. The Brendan Fraser films but also some of those Universal movies where there’s a bunch of adventurers and also there’s a mummy in the mix. You’re going for something different. My impression is that you’re going for something different with this.

What is the impression? When you say we’re different, what do you mean?

Well like you said, a monster movie, but a monster movie that has world implications. This is a mummy that’s attacking a major city. So is that sort of the vibe that you’re going for?

In terms of tone I think that our goal is to make a movie that’s full of suspense, full of adventure, that has moments of horror but that isn’t defined as “a horror movie,” and that will ultimately scare the shit out of you. This goes back to the requirement, I think, of having an unpredictable Tom Cruise in the movie. Because if you remove from the audience’s mind, “Oh I know he’s going to save the day,” and in fact go, “He really might not, he has no idea what to do here,” now I’m in a situation where I’m kind of scared FOR him because I don’t know what he’s going to do and I don't know what’s coming. It’s kind of all of the above in terms of tone. When you’re making a movie of this size you have to sort of take into account suspense and adventure and that’s a huge part of it, but I think also in terms of tone there’s a level of… when I say “grounded in reality,” I would say that maybe that’s a distinction between this and the other movies. There’s more of a fantasy world presented in those movies, so that’s it.

With that scale, and with this film existing as sort of a launchpad for future films, is there that sort of plausible deniability we have in a lot of horror movies?

That’s a great question also. You mean, how many people know…?

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

Yeah, at the end of the day, how many people know that there was a mummy that actually did this? Is that a factor?

Here’s how I’ll answer that question. I feel like what I’m most satisfied by, as a viewer, is feeling like I was let in on a secret that the rest of the world doesn’t know. So The Matrix is a great example, right? At the end of The Matrix no one else knows that they live in The Matrix. Because of the adventure in this particular movie, I know the reality of that. That was sort of a good marker for us. I think also the question of how does this movie live in the monsters universe, right? I believe strongly that the only way you can build a universe is not to start by trying to build a universe, that if you want to get there, the only way you’re going to get there is if the audience allows you to get there. Meaning, you have to do great individual films first. The audience has to fall in love with those movies first, and those characters first, and if they do and you develop an organic story reason to start bringing them together, great! But you can’t start with “Let’s just mash everybody together.” 

The thing people forget is that the Universal Monsters were the first mashup, they were the first universe built. It started with, I think, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, and that was the first time that they put them together and then from there they started cross-pollinating all the monsters. But that was only because FRANKENSTEIN had succeeded so many times as a film, and had spawned its own sequels, and THE WOLF MAN had done the same, that Universal was at a point where they said, “God, we don’t know what to do with these characters anymore. Why don’t we put them together?” and then new stories emerged. So I can’t tell you how much I believe that in order for you to enjoy THE MUMMY, you have to have a satisfying mummy experience. If we are then in that context able to set up a larger world? Great! But the setup of that larger world and whatever characters Tom may meet over the course of the mummy movie have to be part of the mummy movie. It cannot take you out of that. So with that in mind let me show you this second piece, which I think will show you a better sense of the world, and then we can do more Q&A. By the way, guys…?

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

[Scenes starts, cutting Alex Kurtzman off mid-sentence.]

So a couple of things I should have said before we started. You’re seeing something, again, that is not going out into the world. There’s no visual effects in any of that. There are still wires on Sofia [Boutella] as she’s being pulled up. The mummy will look different as we go through it. But I felt like rather than be cryptic about the universe that we’re talking about, I thought that was a good way to kind of present it to you guys and give you a sense of context. But again, I would only ask that you don’t spoil too much about it because the rest of the world isn’t going to see that.

Well, is the notion that Henry Jekyll is in some way going to be an antagonist, would you consider that a spoiler? Because he does seem to be in conflict with Tom…

No, that is not a spoiler. You can certainly say that.

What are the rules you set out for yourself regarding the history and culture? Because you described this as sort of “the real world” and then the mummy arrives. But then Tom Cruise enters a room with Dr. Henry Jekyll and he doesn’t say, “Didn’t I read a book about you?” These things don’t exist in the world?

That’s funny, people ask me the same question on Sleepy Hollow about Ichabod Crane, and no. I would say no. These characters do not exist as characters in novels or in films, let’s say. They are in their own universe, so these are real people in the real world.

So what is the decision to bring Jekyll into this story?

In looking to figure out how to place The Mummy in a larger context and setting up this organization that has actually been dealing with monsters for longer than any of us have been around, it became clear that we needed somebody to be the voice of that organization. The next thought was like, “Well, it could be Joe Mcgillicuddy, or we could actually go into another character that makes sense organically.” It was a real point of conversation with Tom. If we’re going to bring in Henry Jekyll, how is bringing Henry Jekyll into the mummy story not a detractor from the mummy story? How does Henry Jekyll become part of this story in an organic way? And part of what Tom’s character, Nick, learns about the mummy and about the history of the mummy comes through Jekyll’s very deep understanding of monsters and how monsters have existing quietly in this world for eons.

We’re on a bit of a tour through, what was it, the Paradigium?

The Prodigium.

“Prodigium,” sorry. My Latin is bad. Is that going to be an Easter Egg bonanza? Are we setting up things in the details?

There will be some Easter Eggs but again, I feel like I’ve had two reactions to Easter Eggs. When they’re done right, they’re great. When they’re not done right they feel like they’re being forced down your throat for a reason that feels kind of cynical. So again, every choice we’ve made for an Easter Egg had something to do with like, does it make sense in this scene? Does it fit organically into this moment? If so, great! If not, let’s not do it.

Speaking of the whole world of Universal Monsters, you’re right, it was the first proper shared universe but when we think of the Universal Monsters we think of the traditional Universal Monsters. We think of Dracula, Frankenstein, Gill-Man but Universal’s pantheon of horror has expanded.

Sure.

What else is fair game? Tremors? Chucky? Are these things possibilities or are you only limiting yourself to the classics?

We’re talking about the classics right now. I would say that if you want to define our mission statement, it’s to bring a very modern approach to the classic Universal Monsters. It really will be limited - at least in our thinking right now - to the monsters that you’re talking about.

Your mummy is a lot different than traditional mummies. Can you talk about that?

Here’s a weird thing about watching the Boris Karloff Mummy, which is really one of my favorites. Everyone remembers the mummy in the bandages. That’s all you remember. He’s out of the bandages in two minutes, and the rest of the movie he’s in his robes. And it’s amazing that that image has endured as the memory of THE MUMMY. It’s weirdly the same thing with BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. If you watch BRIDE - which is one of the strangest, most wonderful movies ever made - she doesn’t show up until the last ten minutes of the movie, she really doesn’t say anything, and then she dies. And yet we remember that hair, the outfit. It is burned into our collective consciousness, and I think it’s because there’s something about the look of those monsters that is so specific and has endured for so long, that… one of the things that we have gone through is sort of the development of saying, as we design these monsters, how far are we going to deviate from the original designs? What is the spirit of the designs? What is right about them? What do people remember about them? How far can we go? And what we found, with unbelievable consistency, is that the further you go from those designs the more they don’t feel like the Universal Monsters, and that you have to stay true to what those are. You have to. 

Everybody thinks of FRANKENSTEIN, they go “Bolts in the head, green skin, flat top.” Universal has proprietary… they own that, that look. So any time you see another FRANKENSTEIN movie it’s always not that, and it doesn’t quite feel like Frankenstein because if you ask any four-year-old child what Frankenstein looks like, they’re going to draw you a picture of that version of Frankenstein. And if there’s something that so many people, for so many generations remember, you can’t mess with that. You have to stay true to it. You’re only going to be accused of coming up with the lesser version of what I remember loving as a kid or you remember loving as a kid. 

So the bandages were like, that’s what THE MUMMY is to me. We went through a lot of conversations about how does she get the bandages? Where do the bandages come from? What happened to her that she was buried that way? And then, does she lose them over the course of the movie? And I just kept coming back to, the more she feels like a person, as a monster, the less I feel like I’m relating to her as the mummy. Something starts to go away for me in that experience. So my goal was, how do we keep her in those bandages over the course of the movie and really… that’s her costume. That’s it, you know? I just felt like the bandages were what it needed to be. And then again, it's about coming up with a story that makes you understand how she ended up that way.

The original Mummy is really a reincarnation romance for most of it. Is that a factor? Do you see this as in any way a romance, or is it more action?

You hit the nail on the head, actually. Mummy movies are about romance. They are. And they started that way, and if you look at the evolution of them it’s always about that. Imhotep, the original Karloff mummy, that was a love story. In fact they borrowed from them and paid homage to it in the ’99 movie. It was about, “I’m in love with the pharaoh’s wife, we’re having a secret affair, I get found out, they take me away, they bury me alive, and now I’m the mummy.” And the thing that’s beautiful, I think, about a lot of these monsters is that there are these very central, basic, human emotions that you can talk about when you talk about these monsters. You can talk about Dracula’s longing for love, you can talk about the Mummy’s longing for love. So as messed up as they may be in terms of their behavior, and they are monsters, there always has to be a rooting and an understandable idea behind why they are who they are. And absolutely there will be a lot of romance in this movie but hopefully in a way that’s unexpected.

Are you taking anything from the original films in sense of style, visually?

Yes.

I got that bit. It looks very gothic to me.

Yes. I can show you guys one more piece. It’s really a “making of.” Happy to do it. Happy to spend the time talking. What would you guys like to do?

Let’s see it.

It’ll give you a little sense of what it’s like on set, because it’s the most fun I’ve ever had on anything I’ve ever done. So this is a little taste of it.

[BTS footage screens.]

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

This is going to be PG-13, right? So talk a little bit about… you talked about how it’s going to be scary and really push. Talk about balancing that with the rating and what you can get away with?

I think psychological fear is way worse than slasher. I mean, slasher is a different kind of fear, you know? But my favorite filmmakers, people like [Steven] Spielberg, always walked right… when I was a kid, the line that he walked right up to - between where PG-13 and R start, where PG-13 ends and R starts - was so tantalizing for me, because it always felt like anything was possible in a movie. And when a certain thing happened, like someone’s face melts off or Chrissie gets eaten at the beginning of Jaws, the violence was so much more shocking because it was so much less regular. And I think that that’s important, I think that’s very, very important. All of those movies are very suspense-based movies and they hold you in a state of fear from the beginning to the end, because the situation itself is such a pressure cooker that you don’t know what’s going to happen from moment to moment. To me, just in terms of my personal taste, I love living in that kind of a world. I also love horror movies but that is a different thing, you know? And I do think that monster movies, as I said, I think they have elements of horror but I don’t think they’re horror movies. I think they are very different genres.

Was there ever a point where was a discussion of if you want to go R with these movies? Or was it always, “We’re going to do PG-13?”

I think that the truth is that these movies have always existed, THE MUMMY particularly has always kind of existed in that space. You know? There was never really a reason to go R with it because the story was never… I guess if you wanted to make a smaller version of it we would have gone R. I don’t know that that would have served THE MUMMY in the best way, because the goal is to bring it into the world. These are big global movies.

More so than the rating I’m thinking about the scale. What we’ve seen here - we’ve got shootouts, plane crashes, underwater sequences, a city being destroyed - is that setting the stage for future films in this franchise, or will there be room to have more intimate ones? Or even bigger? Because we see that in shared universes where the idea of escalation can run rampant…

That is a spectacular question.

Thank you.

And I think it is one of the most essential questions in terms of like, if you’re looking to build a universe, do you say everything is going to be this size or not? I think for me, as an audience member, I start to get inured to “Oh my god, the world is ending again, and now cities are being blown up.” It’s a tricky thing. You can only do that, I think, to a degree. Once you start doing it over and over and over again it loses its meaning and its power and its potency. I think some of the monster movies will require us to go really, really big. I just think, when you start to think about what do you really want from that movie… Okay, well, CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON. I want that to be in the jungle. Okay, we’re in the Amazon. Where do you want to shoot that, on the backlot or in the Amazon? No, we have to actually go there. Okay, if we go there what’s THAT going to…? Well, now you’re talking about a big movie. You know what I mean? And there’s underwater and there’s all the things that you would look for, for something like Creature.

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

Is that the actual conversation about Creature right now?

I’m giving you a hypothetical. 

Otherwise we’ll wonder, so let’s be clear.

It might be. Yes, it is, actually. It’s that kind of thing. But I think if you look at something like Creature, the story starts to tell you what it wants to be and how big it wants to be. The beauty of monster movies is that because they’re psychologically complicated, there are certain monsters that are better served by being really intimate and really small, and so I think the goal would be to make room for… they don’t all have to be this size, but it’s certainly good to start that way because I think that’s how we reach as many people as we can. I’d love to think we can do smaller movies too. I would.

DRACULA UNTOLD. Canon or not?

No.

Good.

THE MUMMY opens wide on June 9th, 2017.

2017 action adventure alex kurtzman fantasy jon spaihts sofia boutella the mummy tom cruise

Extra Tidbit: What do you think? Are you under the spell of THE MUMMY?
Source: JoBlo.com

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