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Story Notes for The Mummy

Monday through Thursday at 8PM | 7C, AMC presents Story Notes — real-time on-air trivia about your favorite movies. Tonight’s movie was The Mummy.

Award Notes
Rachel Weisz was nominated for 2 awards for playing Evelyn Carnahan: a Saturn and an Empire Award. In 2006 she went on to win an Oscar for The Constant Gardener

The Mummy was nominated for an Oscar for Best Sound.

Biography Notes
Omid Djalili is a British-Iranian stand-up comic and actor. The Warden was one of his first big roles.

Ardeth Bay was Oded Fehr’s first big screen role. Born in Tel Aviv, he served in the Israeli navy.

Corey Johnson (Mr. Daniels) also battled demonic creatures as Agent Clay in Hellboy.

Brendan Fraser starred in Gods and Monsters, a film about the director of Frankenstein.

Rachel Weisz was the only actress offered her part.

Actor Kevin J. O’Connor (Beni) is a favorite of director Stephen Sommers, appearing in many of his films.

Sommers wrote the part of Beni for O’Connor. They had worked together before on his film, Dark Rising.

Brendan Fraser’s character Rick was conceived as a swashbuckling Errol Flynn type.

Fashion Notes
O’Connor had a dimmer switch in his wardrobe to put the torch he holds out.

Surprise! The nightgown that Evy wears turned out to be see-through when wet. Because of the film’s PG-13 rating, it had to be digitally painted white.

The Medjai were supposed to be tattooed from head to toe, but the director said Oded Fehr (Ardeth Bay) was too good looking to cover up.

Finance Notes
Director Stephen Sommers says the average special effect cost was $125K per shot.

The Mummy was a hit, grossing over 400 million dollars in the summer of 1999. That’s a lot of gold.

History Notes
The most famous mummy’s curse is the Curse of King Tut’s Tomb.

Scholars believe the Medjai really did exist, but they were military scouts, not bodyguards.

There really was an Imhotep. He was an architect who designed the first pyramid at Saqqara. His name, ironically, means “He Who Comes in Peace.”

No one knows where the real Imhotep was buried.

The Egyptian Book of the Dead was in reality a “how-to” book on the afterlife, not a spell-book for resurrection.

To Ancient Egyptians, the spirit or “ka” lived on after death as long as it had a place to reside.

Amun-Ra was the most powerful Egyptian god, considered the father of Egypt and its Kings.

Anubis was the Egyptian god associated with mummification.

In Ancient Egypt, scarab amulets were placed over mummy’s hearts. They would be weighed against the feather of truth at the final judgment.

While the Hom-Dai isn’t real, Ancient Egyptians did use curses against their enemies.

There is an urban myth that in the early 1900’s mummies were used as fuel for trains. Mark Twain wrote about it in The Innocents Abroad.

Location Notes
The museum interiors were shot in Mentmore Towers, in Buckinghamshire, England. It’s also been Wayne Manor in Batman Begins and the “orgy mansion” in Eyes Wide Shut.

Music Notes
One of the scores was composed by Jerry Goldsmith (Star Trek: The Motion Picture). He also created the fanfare you hear at the start of every Universal film, including this one!

Pop-culture Notes
Fort Brydon is an homage to The Jungle Book, another film directed by Stephen Sommers. In it, there is a Colonel Brydon.

Sommers says he was inspired by the films of Michael Curtiz (Captain Blood, Robin Hood).

Quote Notes
Director Stephen Sommers says the day after the movie opened, the studio called. They said, “We need another one.”

The director says the hardest thing about the movie was the blend of humor and horror: He said, “I didn’t set out to make a straight horror movie.”

Sommers describes this movie as a “big, sweeping, romantic, action-packed adventure wrapped in a mummy movie.”

Random Notes
In the 1920s, Americans were joining the French Foreign Legion for money and adventure.

While shooting, the director took terrorist insurance policies out on the cast. He didn’t tell them until they were out of the Middle East.

There is a theory that dry quicksand exists, and reports of entire caravans disappearing in the desert.

Sommers has said that the original 1932 version was the one movie that scared him as a kid. He was only eight when he saw it.

Set Notes
The cast and crew had to deal with real sandstorms in the Moroccan desert.

The zombified townspeople in the movie are a sly nod to the angry villagers in classic horror films.

Since no one was used to acting across from “nothing”, the actors were shown pictures of Vosloo in full Mummy look to inspire fear.

An Egyptologist was brought in to make the Ancient Egyptian sound authentic. He also worked on Stargate.

Temperatures in the Sahara reached 130 degrees. The medical team concocted a special drink for everyone to stay hydrated.

The ruins of Hamunaptra were built in a dormant volcano in the Sahara outside Erfoud, Morocco.

Symbolism Notes
Some cast members actually thought the movie was cursed when the film broke at the premiere.

Tech Notes
From the beginning, the director didn’t want a guy shuffling around in bandages. Motion capture was chosen so that Imhotep would move as a human, not a magical being.

The effects team was told “no gore” when designing the look of the Mummy. They actually did tests for “grossness threshold.”

As the effects team designed the Mummy, they liked his transparency so they “removed” his organs.

It took three months for the animation supervisor to complete the musculature for Imhotep’s body.

Trivia Notes
“Mummy” comes from the Arabic word “mumiya,” a black, gooey tar.

Because of The Mummy, Brendan Fraser was made into an action figure. Now he has 5.

Fans speculate Evy is based on Evelyn Carnarvon, whose father funded the discovery of Tut’s tomb.

There was no Royal Air Corps. In 1923, it would have been the Royal Air Force, and before that, the Royal Flying Corps.

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