Brendan Fraser Would Love To Make A Fourth Mummy Movie, Knows Why Tom Cruise's Reboot Failed

Universal Pictures' infamous Dark Universe was not an inherently bad idea. The studio had enjoyed great success crossing over its classic monster movie series going back to the 1940s, at one point even pairing them with comedy duo Abbott and Costello for a run of films. Then, director Stephen Sommers gave "The Mummy" a fresh coat of paint with his 1999 remake, a delightfully cheeky mix of "Indiana Jones"-style action/adventure and supernatural horror that would spawn two sequels and a series of spinoff films about The Scorpion King (a role originated by Dwayne Johnson in 2001's "The Mummy Returns").

Since then, however, Universal has struggled to effectively re-imagine most of its other monsters for the 21st century. Many of its attempts to do so have seen the studio trying to repurpose these characters as superheroes, starting with Sommers' 2004 movie "Van Helsing" (which transforms the titular vampire hunter from a seasoned scholar of the supernatural into a strapping, crossbow-wielding vigilante played by Hugh Jackman) and continuing on to 2014's "Dracula Untold," a film that gives Count Dracula his own Marvel Cinematic Universe-style origin story starring Luke Evans.

While neither of those movies is what one might call beloved, they're both far better-liked than Alex Kurtzman's 2017 version of "The Mummy" starring Tom Cruise. (True story: A group of some half-dozen people walked out about 20 minutes into the film when I saw it in theaters, and on opening night no less.) Kurtzman's movie was meant to serve as the starting point for the Dark Universe of rebooted Universal Monsters, only to wind up killing it before it could even make it off the launchpad. 

If one were to ask the star of Sommers' "The Mummy," the charming Brendan Fraser now on a comeback trail, what went wrong, his answer would be simple: Kurtzman's reboot wasn't fun.

He's right, and he should say it

Fraser, to put it plainly, knows his way around a "Mummy" movie. He starred in Sommers' 1999 remake and its sequels as Rick O'Connell, a wise-cracking adventurer who blends Fraser's himbo charms with the rugged appeal and self-aware humor of Harrison Ford's whip-cracking Indiana Jones. Say what you will about "The Mummy Returns" and its 2008 follow-up, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," but you could always count on Fraser to deliver the goods in those films, be it with a funny one-liner or a rough and tumble stunt (many of which he did himself at great risk to his well-being).

Despite the toll those movies took on his physical health, Fraser told Variety he would be open to making a fourth "Mummy" film "if someone came up with the right conceit." He was also frank about what went wrong with Kurtzman's "Mummy" reboot but admitted he was sympathetic, knowing from experience just how hard it is to strike the right balance of tones and genres with those movies:

"It is hard to make that movie. The ingredient that we had going for our 'Mummy,' which I didn't see in that film, was fun. That was what was lacking in that incarnation. It was too much of a straight-ahead horror movie. 'The Mummy' should be a thrill ride, but not terrifying and scary. I know how difficult it is to pull it off. I tried to do it three times."

Personally, I would rather see "The Mummy" get a radical re-imagining (like the anti-Orientalist version pitched by Lexi Alexander a few years back) than continue in any other fashion. But even in that scenario, Fraser is right: There's no reason any "Mummy" movie should feel like a chore to sit through.