While 1999’s The Mummy is generally considered a beloved classic, there is one aspect of its sequel, 2001’s The Mummy Returns, that sticks out like a sore thumb. And that is the CGI in the final battle between Brendan Fraser’s Rick O’Connell, Arnold Vosloo’s Imhotep, and most notably – Dwayne Johnson‘s Scorpion King.
In a recent interview with GQ, Brendan Fraser confessed that he never actually met Dwayne Johnson while filming the movie, because Johnson was just a piece of tape on a stick. The Scorpion King is a bit like a centaur, with a human torso and head, atop scorpion legs and claws. Johnson famously looks like a PlayStation 2 character, with an oddly-shaped head and angular features which move in a janky, juddery way. His skin is unnaturally smooth, while his movements are unnaturally not smooth at all.
Fraser says that the CGI artists were aware of the issues, and at the premiere, told him that they’d not been given enough time; “I never met Dwayne until after the premiere because he was a piece of tape on a stick that we referred to. Of course, they put him in CGI later. I know, I know. Be kind!”
Fraser continues; “The guys who did the CGI of the Scorpion King, [I saw them] at the premiere, and they were like, ‘Hey, how are you? We did the Scorpion King CGI. Yeah, we needed a little more time. It was very last minute.’ Some of the charm of it now is…it could get remastered I guess, but it wouldn’t be as fun if you didn’t see this janky video game character of Dwayne. It’s somehow just perfect, how it works.”
The careers of Brendan Fraser and Dwayne Johnson have gone in very different directions since The Mummy Returns. Johnson has starred in a string of family-friendly blockbusters in the last decade, and became a new DC superhero this year in Black Adam. Fraser’s career has had peaks and troughs, due to him speaking out against a powerful figure in the industry. This year, he is having a huge comeback with The Whale, for which he is strongly tipped for the Best Actor Oscar.
Check out our guide to the best adventure movies.