Pop Culture | Movies | 90s

Curse Of 'The Mummy' - How The Classic Film Nearly Wiped Out Its Cast

Universal Pictures

If any movie proves that "they just don't make 'em like they used to," it's The Mummy.

That's the The Mummy - as in the box office smash of 1999, to avoid any confusion with certain other films bearing the same name.

The mystical adventure had action, laughs, and special effects that look amazing to this day - and they should, because they cost $150,000 per shot.

While The Mummy gave audiences chills, making the movie was just as frightening for its cast.

From the very beginning of the shoot, to the movie's premiere, it seems like the film's cast and crew were dealing with their own ancient curse.

Location, Location, Location

Universal Pictures

Take the movie's filming location: it was moved to Morocco after Egypt proved to be too dangerous for the production.

But even in Morocco, with the country's military acting as bodyguards, kidnapping insurance had to be taken out on the movie's stars. (Of course, director Stephen Sommers didn't tell the actors until after the movie was made.)

When filming moved to the Sahara Desert, dealing with the elements - and the local wildlife wildlife - was a constant struggle.

When the cast weren't putting up with sandstorms and the burning sun, they were swatting away poisonous snakes, spiders and scorpions.

Multiple crew members had to be airlifted to the hospital after being bitten by the set's unwelcome guests.

Some of the movie's most famous stunts also put the actors in real danger. And Brendan Fraser revealed he was lucky to survive one of them.

While The Mummy was famous for its groundbreaking CGI effects, some of the movie's most famous scenes were very real.

The scene when Rachel Weisz knocks over those massive library shelves was mostly made with tricky camera angles, but the huge props actually fell over in the "dominoes" shot.

Incredibly, the enormous and complicated gag worked perfectly on the first take.

Things didn't go so smoothly during Brendan Fraser's hanging scene, however.

At The End Of His Rope

Universal Pictures

To make the botched execution look convincing, Fraser was "hanging from the noose standing on a board." At the last moment, the director asked the crew to "bring up the tension a little bit on the noose."

Fraser passed out, and says he was dead for 18 seconds before the crew could resuscitate him.

How does the actor sum up his brush with death? "I didn't like it," he said. "It hurt."

While Fraser was the only actor to die on set (even temporarily) the shoot wasn't exactly fun and games for the other actors.

Creepy Crawlies

Rachel Weisz was covered in real rats and scarabs, and you can tell from her reactions.

And Arnold Vosloo, who played the mummy, was genuinely panicking while being "buried alive." He had spent four hours being wrapped in cloth until he couldn't move for his mummification, and it definitely looked convincing.

After all that hard work, the cast were finally able to relax and enjoy the movie on the big screen at its Hollywood premiere.

Until, that is, the projector overheated and ruined the screening. Creepy.

Do you still love this movie?

[H/T: CBS News, EW]

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