U, Fraser huddle on ‘Mummy’

Actor could star in $70 mil adventure-horror pic

Brendan Fraser is in talks to wrap himself in “The Mummy,” Alphaville Prods.’ remake of the horror favorite at Universal, sources said Friday.

Pic is a remake of the original 1932 Boris Karloff starrer directed by Karl Freund. Alphaville’s Jim Jacks and Sean Daniel will produce the update, which will be helmed by Stephen Somers from his own screenplay.

In the adventure-horror tale, Fraser would play an American enlistee in the French Foreign Legion who, during an archeological treasure hunt at the pyramids, awakens the monsters from ancient Egypt. The female lead has not been cast.

Sources said the pic is budgeted in the $70 million range and is slated for an April start in London and Morocco.

Universal, hoping to revive “The Mummy” as a franchise vehicle, has had the project in development for more than five years. Somers is the most recent of a number of helmers who have been attached to the project, including Mick Garris, George Romero, Joe Dante and Clive Barker.

Maximum ‘Mummy’

After the original’s release, U scored with a series of sequels to the fright pic, including “The Mummy’s Hand” in 1940, “The Mummy’s Tomb” in 1942, “The Mummy’s Ghost” in 1944 and “The Mummy’s Curse” in 1945.

There have been several competing mummy projects in development in recent years, including Fox’s adaptation of the Anne Rice novel “The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned,” but U looks to be the first to put its into production.

U also is slated to distribute in Australia and New Zealand the recently wrapped indie “Talos the Mummy,” starring Christopher Lee, who starred in a 1959 update of the mummy legend.

Fraser — who last starred in the $105 million grosser “George of the Jungle” for Disney — is being repped on the deal by Peter Levine and John Burnham of the William Morris Agency and attorney Patti Felker.

Fraser next can be seen in the spring release “Still Breathing,” for which he landed the best actor award from the Seattle Film Festival. He also co-stars in “Gods and Monsters” — the story of James Whale, who helmed U’s other horror series “Frankenstein” and “Bride of Frankenstein” — which will premiere at the Sundance film fest.

The actor, who made his feature debuts in 1992 with “Encino Man” and “School Ties,” will segue into “The Mummy” after wrapping Hugh Wilson’s “Blast From the Past,” in which he stars for New Line.

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