The Mummy is a 1999 American action fantasy movie written and directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Brendan Fraser, Rachel Weisz, John Hannah, and Kevin J. O’Conner, with Arnold Vosloo in the titular role as the reanimated mummy. It’s a loose remake of the 1932 movie The Mummy, which starred Boris Karloff in the titular role. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and fascinating facts about The Mummy.
1. In the movie, adventurer Rick O’Connell travels to Hamunaptra, the City of the Dead, with an archaeologist and her brother. There, they accidentally awaken Imhotep, a high priest from the reign of the Pharaoh Seti I who has been cursed for eternity.
2. The movie was a surprise hit which went on to gross $416 million worldwide.
3. An Egyptologist was brought in to phonetically render what Ancient Egyptian might have sounded like for the dialogue.
4. With the exception of a loin cloth and a few pieces of jewelry, Patricia Velasquez’s costume consists entirely of body paint, which took 4 hours to apply.
5. Brendan Fraser nearly died during a scene where his character is hanged. Rachel Weisz remembered, “He [Fraser] stopped breathing and had to be resuscitated.”
6. In one scene, Beni is shown with a sackful of gold which he’s trying to load onto a camel, and Beni pulls the camel by the reins but the camel doesn’t bugle; the camels all, for some reason, hated Kevin J. O’Connor.
7. According to director Stephen Sommers, Universal phoned him the morning after the movie was released and said, “We need another one.”
8. The opening voice-over was originally intended to be read by Imhotep. However, Stephen Sommers later realized that Imhotep wouldn’t be able to speak English, and gave the voice-over to Ardeth Bay instead.
9. The white nightgown Evelyn wore when the ship was attacked, became transparent when it got wet and had to be digitally painted white during post production so that the movie could keep its PG-13 rating.
10. The library disaster was done in one take. It would have taken an entire day to re-shoot if a mistake had been made.
11. The Medjai were originally supposed to be tattooed from head to toe, but Stephen Sommers vetoed it because he thought Oded Fehr was “too good-looking” to be covered up.
12. During the scene when Imhotep is raising the sandstorm in the desert, the camera had to quickly pan up; the wind machines being used kept blowing Arnold Vosloo’s cape up, exposing his backside.
13. Jonathan Hyde’s close-up scene during the locust swarm had to be re-shot several times; he could not keep a straight face with so many locusts crawling all over him.
14. The scene in the beginning where Imhotep is mummified freaked out actor Arnold Vosloo. He had to be in bandages for four hours to film the scenes where he’s wrapped and put in his tomb.
15. The scenes showing the Cairo streets were shot of a souk in Marrakesh that was so expensive that the actors and crew were warned not to wander too far from the set or risk getting lost.
16. Stephen Sommers came up with the gag of Evelyn saving Rick from two gunshots on the burning boat the night before they filmed the scene.
17. The production had the official support of the Moroccan army, and the cast members had kidnapping insurance taken out on them, a fact Stephen Sommers disclosed to the cast only after shooting had finished.
18. While filming, John Hannah sprained his wrist and had to wear a brace on it, which shows up during his final scenes.
19. It was originally planned to open the movie with the old black and white Universal logo that had been used at the beginning of the original The Mummy movie, which would dissolve into the blazing desert sun.
20. The prison scene was shot entirely at an apartment complex in Marrakech.
21. To avoid dehydration in the scorching heat of the Sahara, the production’s medical team created a drink that the cast and crew had to consume every two hours. Sandstorms were daily inconveniences. Snakes, spiders and scorpions were also a major problem, with many crew members having to be airlifted out after being bitten.
22. Rachel Weisz wasn’t a big fan of horror movies but didn’t see The Mummy as such. As she said in an interview, “It’s hokum, a comic book world.”
23. The scene in which the scarabs come from the sands to chase the explorers was done by using an air compressor on the set that went off to simulate the insects emerging from the sand.
24. Although the American O’Connell could certainly serve in the French Foreign Legion, he couldn’t be a Lieutenant as depicted in the movie. Officers in the Legion are required to be French nationals. As an American, O’Connell wouldn’t be eligible for a commission.
25. Despite the name, the title character was never mummified. His followers were, but he was subjected to a very different death.
26. During the filming of the scene in which hail and fire fall down on Cairo, dried dog food was painted white and used as balls of hail, thrown down on the set.
27. Stephen Dunham auditioned for the role of Rick O’Connell. He was rejected, but Stephen Sommers liked his acting so much that he made up the character Mr. Henderson just for him.
28. In the original script, Evy was supposed to say, “He’s gorgeous,” when she first sees the fully resurrected Imhotep. The line was filmed, but removed from the final cut.
29. Kevin J. O’Conner had been roughed up so much during the filming of the scene with Beni in the Egyptologist’s office that he was badly bruised and his nipples had to be iced afterward.
30. The presence of living scarabs after centuries of isolation from food sources was better explained in an early version of the script. Imhotep was cursed to live forever when some of the sacred scarabs force themselves down his throat; and by eating him, the scarabs themselves were also cursed with everlasting life.