Fraser, Weisz wrap pact for ‘Mummy 2’

Thesp may unearth $12.5 mil

Brendan Fraser and co-star Rachel Weisz have agreed to sign on for “The Mummy 2,” with Universal Pictures and Alphaville Prods. announcing Wednesday that lensing will start this spring for a May 2001 release.

Final details of Fraser’s pact have not been worked out, but his salary is expected to be in the $12.5 million range. Fraser, who made $5 million for “The Mummy,” recently agreed to a $10 million payday for 20th Century Fox’s remake of “Bedazzled.”

Decision by Fraser and Weisz to reprise roles as Rick O’Connell and sidekick Evelyn Carnahan from last year’s surprise hit had been expected ever since Universal received a sequel commitment six months ago from screenwriter-director Stephen Sommers.

John Hannah recently agreed to return to the sequel in the comic-relief role of Jonathan Carnahan for his first $1 million deal.

Project will also reteam Sommers with producers Jim Jacks and Sean Daniel.

Swashbuckling hit

“The Mummy,” set in 1923 Egypt and combining a swashbuckling tone with extensive special effects by Industrial Light & Magic, began with Fraser’s character accidentally awakening a powerful 3,000-year-old priest bent on revenge. Sommers has indicated the sequel would focus on the creature resurfacing in London. Universal production president Kevin Misher said the script calls for Fraser and Weitz’s characters to be married with a 9-year-old son showing the same daring flair as his father.

First pic debuted 12 days before “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” and blew away expectations with a $43.6 million opening weekend, which immediately sparked talk of a sequel.

Universal noted “The Mummy” has taken in more than $400 million worldwide to date, placing it 31st on the all-time box office list. The homevideo version was the bestselling live-action title last year, holding the top spot for three straight weeks, and the DVD was the second bestselling title last year with more than 1 million units shipped.

“We’re going to give all the fun of the first and then some with even worse villains,” Misher said of the upcoming sequel. Possible locations include Egypt, London and Morocco, he added.

Fraser is represented by CAA.

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