Actress signs up for third installment

Maria Bello will replace Rachel Weisz in the third installment of “The Mummy.”

She joins Brendan Fraser, Luke Ford, Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh in the Rob Cohen-directed film for Universal Pictures.

Bello will play Evelyn Carnahan O’Connell, the adventuress played in the first two films by Weisz. After Weisz declined to reprise, Cohen and the studio cast a wide net for a replacement.

Scripted by “Smallville” creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough, the film brings the O’Connells and their full-grown son (Ford) to the forbidden tombs of China and the Himalayas, where they battle a shape-shifting mummy, a former Chinese emperor (Li) cursed by a wizard (Yeoh).

The first two films grossed more than $830 million worldwide for Universal, which will release the third installment next summer. Sean Daniel, Jim Jacks, Stephen Sommers and Bob Ducsay are producing.

Most recently seen in “A History of Violence” and “Flicka,” Bello next stars in “The Jane Austen Book Club” for Sony Pictures Classics, and “Butterfly on a Wheel,” which Lionsgate will release in August.

She’s repped by CAA and manager John Carrabino.

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