The Mummy: Alex Kurtzman “The Mummy is above all a love story”
If The Mummy is back at the cinema, it is to the director Alex Kurtzman that we must say thank you. On the occasion of the release of the film, discover our excluded interview!
85 years old (yes, you heard) after the original film starring Boris Karloff and nearly ten years after the remake with Brendan Fraser, The Mummy returns to life with Alex Kurtzman , the director of People Like Us . For this new version with Tom Cruise, the filmmaker decided to shake the basic story by opting for a female Mummy (Sofia Boutella) and choosing to bring it into the world today; And no longer in the 1930s. The Mummy is no longer Imhotep but Ahmanet, a former power-hungry princess of Egypt who, to become queen, killed her own father, wife and son, and made a pact With Seth, the god of evil and darkness. But if the latter is more frightening than the previous Mummy, it is also more touching . A dimension that was important for Alex Kurtzman, he entrusted us during his passage in Paris for the promotion of the film. Why ? Find out below in our exclusive interview !
The original film The Mummy begins to date now. What did it mean to you before you made this new version?
I grew up with Universal’s monsters. And the more I watched this kind of movies, the more I realized that I felt two different things for these monsters: on the one hand they were really scary and on the other hand, I found them nice and I could manage Connect to these characters. I find it really special. This is completely different from horror movies in general. Universal’s monsters are full-fledged characters, with a real story, and you can feel empathy for them. And finally, if we look at The Mummy in particular, from that of Boris Karloff to the more recent, it is a love story. The Mummy simply wants to find her love forever. And so I absolutely wanted to find it for my film, while offering a new version of the story.
This is the first time you’ve made a fantastic horror movie. What was your first approach? Are you inspired by other films?
I was inspired by many movies. Of course, the original monsters of Universal were an integral part of my work. But for the horrifying side, I also looked a lot at The Exorcist, The Shining, or even Evil Dead. Evil Dead has a perfect balance between humor and horror. The idea of being able to hold the hearing in suspense and free them from this suspense by making them laugh was important to me. I also watched a lot of Hitchcock’s films, from Birds to Vertigo, to see how he played with suspense and learn from it. I hope I have succeeded!
What was your biggest challenge on the set for La Momie?
Action scenes. In particular, we filmed a scene in weightlessness, in a plane crashing. We did it in a real plane, in full flight, with no green background. The actors really found themselves experiencing weightlessness. The plane first climbed high into the sky, then it dropped into freefall for 22 seconds and so there was no gravity and for 22 seconds, the cameras were filming. And it’s great, because it’s real, it really happens like that.
Sofia Boutella really steals the show at Tom Cruise in the film. Why did you choose this actress to play The Mummy?
Sofia is really special. I saw her dancing, I saw her also in Kingsman. His physical abilities are incredible. She has an incredible control of her body and I knew that to play a princess of 5000 years ago, who has a certain royal presence, you need someone who is that kind of control. But the true gift of Sofia is in her eyes, they express all the emotions. And I wanted the audience to be afraid of the Mummy but they also understand her story and feel something for her. So Sofia was an obvious choice for me.
Speaking of the Mummy, why did you choose to make it a woman?
I was looking for an original way of telling this story. It was always men and we developed several scenarios where The Mummy was also a man, but they were not interesting enough, not quite different. They did not really deserve to make a new version of the film. And at the same time, a voice in my head kept telling me to make a female Mummy and when we finally opened up to this idea, a whole new story took shape before us. I like the idea that she grew up thinking that she would take the lead of Egypt and that suddenly her father took away this dream. The man she trusted most had betrayed him. It’s a hard story. And I knew that no matter how bad it gets during the movie, We would think of her story and somewhere we would understand why she did this and feel pity for her. And that was important to me.
Universal announced its Dark Universe, with several films in project on the mythical monsters of the cinema. Which of them excites you the most?
The next thing they do is Frankenstein’s Bride and I’m really excited! Because if we look at the original film about Frankenstein’s Bride, it is a very strange film. The Bride does not appear until the last few minutes of the film and it is really made for Frankenstein. She opens her eyes and roars with terror at the Monster. Desperate and mad with rage, he destroyed the whole laboratory, burying himself with the companion destined to him and it is the end of the film. She has no dialogue. It is a very strange film but this image of her with her hair and her white curls has remained. There is something really powerful about this picture. This is going to be realized by Bill Condon, who just made La Belle et la Bête but who mainly directed one of my favorite films, Gods and Monsters, On the last days of James Whale, the director of Frankenstein. So I’m all the more excited!