Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.
Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.
From the sweeping sands of the Middle East through hidden labyrinths under modern-day London, The Mummy brings a surprising intensity and balance of wonder and thrills in an imaginative new take that ushers in a new world of gods and monsters.
Cruise is joined by a cast including Annabelle Wallis (upcoming King Arthur, television’s Peaky Blinders), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World), Courtney B. Vance (TV’s American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson), Marwan Kenzari (The Promise) and Oscar® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator).
The creative team is led by director/producer Alex Kurtzman and producer Chris Morgan, who have been instrumental in growing some of the most successful franchises of the past several years—with Kurtzman writing or producing entries in the Transformers, Star Trek and Mission: Impossible series, and Morgan being the narrative engineer of the Fast & Furious saga as it has experienced explosive growth from its third chapter on. Sean Daniel, who produced the most recent Mummy trilogy, and Sarah Bradshaw (Maleficent) produce alongside Kurtzman and Morgan.
ZERO-GRAVITY STUNT BACKGROUND
Over the course of his career, Cruise has dedicated himself to accomplishing ever-more ambitious practical stunts, ones that would test the most seasoned stunt performer. His goal is to place the audience right next to his characters…in every single frame captured by the camera.
In the Mission: Impossible series, Cruise free-climbed the Burj Khalifa (world’s tallest building), gripped the outside of an in-flight transport plane (eight times), made free-water dives of 130 ft., hung from Utah’s jagged Dead Horse Point by his fingertips and leaped from a Triumph Speed Triple motorcycle…only to tackle a co-star mid-flight.
Whether dangling on the 800-ft. edge of Iceland’s Earl’s Peak for Oblivion or slamming his Chevelle into fellow drivers’ cars in Jack Reacher, it’s crucial to the performer that he pushes himself further in each film, and that the audience shares in the adrenaline.
Cruise has long wanted to lens in Zero Gravity, and in The Mummy, one tactical stunt has become his biggest, most demanding maneuver to date. In order to shoot one of the most visceral plane-crash sequences ever filmed, he’d need to take to the skies.
DETAILS OF THE STUNT
Almost four miles above sea level, Cruise, co-star Annabelle Wallis and key crew—all under the eye of The Mummy director/producer Alex Kurtzman—lensed a sequence that is impossible to shoot on land.
Off the coast of France near Bordeaux—over two days and multiple flights—pilots and astronauts of Novespace Airbus (A-310) took the company 20,000 ft. high.
From this altitude, they climbed rapidly to a 50-degree angle to just over 25,000 feet; there, the plane reduced thrust, and free fell from the sky.
For 22-23 seconds during the ballistic phase, the company felt weightless. As the Airbus free fell, cast and crew balanced dialogue, camerawork and choreography for a plane-crash scene that will appear in summer 2017’s The Mummy.
For the stunt, the pilots enacted a total of 60 parabolas (repeated weightlessness sessions). Each parabola allowed for the filming of a key sequence in the scene.
At least 90% of the plane crash sequence is real. The only visual effects will be added in post-production and blend sets together so they look the same size and scale.
PARABOLIC FLIGHTS / AIRBUS ZERO-G TECH FACTS
Under the direction of European Space Agency astronaut Jean-Francois Clervoy, crew filmed with Novespace, founder of the first parabolic (Zero Gravity) flights in Europe. The Zero-G Airbus is the only plane in the world manned by three pilots simultaneously: one controls pitch, one controls the wings and one controls thrust.
The “pull-up” phase starts at full thrust and max speed from level flight until a 50-degree incline, before the “injection” phase and beginning of weightless (actual freefall, not floating).
During “pull up,” those aboard feel twice their weight on Earth.
The aircraft is briefly injected into orbit, following an elliptical trajectory above the Earth, so passengers live the true weightlessness that astronauts feel.
ABOUT THE SARCOPHAGUS
The largest single vertical structure ever assembled at the Hollywood & Highland gateway, The Mummy sarcophagus stands almost 75 feet in height, 28 feet in width and weighs an astonishing 15,000 pounds.
Princess Ahmanet’s head section alone is 13 feet tall. This extraordinary feat of engineering took two firms a total of eight weeks to construct, and scores of workers more than 160 hours to install. Split into 9 different units, her supposed eternal resting place required more than 2,500 square feet of steel.
The hundreds on hieroglyphics on Ahmanet’s ancient tomb tell the story of betrayal by her people, and their attempts to hold her between this world and the next. To prepare Ahmanet’s sarcophagus for its The Mummy Day revealing, the tomb required 18 wide-load tractor trailers to move all of the elements into place.
THE MUMMY ZERO GRAVITY STUNT VR EXPERIENCE
As seen in Universal Pictures’ The Mummy, there is a plane-crash sequence in the upcoming film that was shot 90% practically.
The Mummy Zero Gravity Stunt VR Experience goes behind the scenes with Tom Cruise and co-star Annabelle Wallis as they perform the intense Zero G stunt.
Almost four miles above sea level, Cruise, Wallis and key crew—all under the eye of The Mummy director/producer Alex Kurtzman—filmed a sequence that is impossible to shoot on land. A set was built inside Novespace Airbus (A-310) to make it look like the interior of C-130 military transport aircraft.
This immersive VR experience is enhanced by Positron’s Voyager platform, featuring custom engineering and software, guided 360-degree motion control, head-tracked 3D audio, and haptic integration—allowing guests to experience the world of The Mummy in a way they could only imagine.
THE MUMMY ESCAPE GAME
In The Mummy Escape Game, an immersive live-action fan experience that also makes its world premiere at The Mummy Day, guests will be recruited as security guards and enter the sweeping story of The Mummy.
They must solve interactive puzzles to save mankind from the revenge of an ancient princess who has awakened in current day.
Ahmanet’s thirst for justice has spanned centuries, and players must outwit the fearless warrior to survive. Turning the storyline into reality by traveling through multiple rooms, up to 10 players work together within a 60-minute time limit to solve the puzzle and defeat the game.
Genres Epic Action-Adventure Starring Tom Cruise, Sofia Boutella, Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, and Russell Crowe Directed By Alex Kurtzman Produced By Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan, Sean Daniel, Sarah Bradshaw Executive Produced By Jeb Brody, Roberto OrciThis content is copyright, 2017, Universal Studios, all rights reserved.Hollywood Sentinel
I’ve been watching a lot of older, great films lately. One thing that I am reminded about, when viewing motion picture, is something that I learned in one of my screenwriting classes, and that is that every well developed character in a film needs a backstory. What that means is this…take Will Smith’s character in “The Pursuit of Happyness” for example; We see that he is trying to get a good paying job, and make good money. But why? We quickly learn it is to take care of his young boy. But so what? Why is that? We learn it is because his characters father was not around for him, and he promises himself that he will never do that to his child. He will be there for ‘his’ boy. Now ‘that’ is a compelling motivation. His motivation for success runs deep–beyond the ordinary man. He ‘must’ succeed in order to not only care for himself, but to care for his boy, and to help break the cycle of abuse and abandonment that his spirit carries.
The Backstory of a Character
When a film has no backstory, that is, when the character’s motivation is not clearly established, we generally feel nothing for them. Why do they do what they do? What are they running from or towards? Are they compelled by love, fear, jealousy, hate, or what? In order to have a powerful character in a film we care about, we generally need to see or understand some of the inner compulsion of the character. Without backstory, without the reason ‘why’ they are doing what they do, we generally have no emotional development, and thus–no care for the character.
The greatest films, fueled by the greatest screenplays, have greatly developed characters that we ‘feel’ for. That we either greatly hate, or most often generally love, or can relate to. Without knowing something deep and personal about the character, we typically feel that the character is empty, shallow, and void of depth or meaning. We don’t care about them, and therefore, do not relate strongly to the film. A great character of depth helps create in cinema what we call the ‘suspension of disbelief,’ whereby our conscious mind momentarily forgets the outside world, and relates wholly to the character on screen, considering their pain–our pain, their truth–our truth, and their victory–our victory.
The Force Within Us
When Luke Skywalker conquers the evil Darth Vadar, it is not just Luke we are cheering for, it is for the universal good in us all. “Star Wars” creator George Lucas tapped in to what Joseph Campbell referred to in his book and video “The Power of Myth,” as the classical archetype, which extends across all time, space, lands, and generations. It is the inborn spirit in humanity that years for truth, for love, and for the greater good. Without archetype, without ‘reason’ in our characters, our stories are often flawed, and our sense of wonderment, awe, and compassion is either lost, or worse still–never there to begin with.
Life Imitates Art
I want to ask you to think for some time about your life as a movie script. How many strangers do you see each day that are not developed in your mind? In other words, how many people out there do you encounter that you know nothing about? That you have no backstory for? The reality is, we ‘all’ have a story. We all have a backstory–a reason for why we do what we do–right or wrong. We all have something we are running from, or towards. We all have hopes, dreams, fears, weaknesses, hates, loves, motivations, and things that inspire and compel us. Yet how can we ‘feel’ any care, compassion, or sympathy, let alone any empathy, for those characters in our lives–those ‘strangers,’ when we have no emotional bond compelling us to see them as anything more than just a blip on the screen of our life? What concern will we feel when that stranger is just as another flat, boring, irrelevant character on the screen, that we know nothing about?
I want to remind you that ‘you’ are an undeveloped character to someone, to a stranger–just as I am to many. Those that become ‘famous’ have a two dimensional view of them ‘known’ by many, but even this is not ‘knowing.’ How can you know a person? Just as we know a character. We know where they came from, we know where they are going, we know a bit of their soul and what drives them; their passions, their weaknesses, their loves, their fears, their hopes, and their obsessions.
Strangers–The Undeveloped Characters of Our Life
Unlike the movies, the undeveloped characters–those ‘strangers’ in our life really are developed, they really are deep–we just haven’t heard, seen, or read their stories. And yet how many times do we pass by a stranger, giving not a thought nor care to their life, to their feelings, to their humanity? How many hundreds of thousands of homeless on the streets in Los Angeles and every major city throughout the world have a story–a purpose they are not fulfilling, a dream they yearn to see come true?
We are all human, we all have a spirit, a purpose– a soul. I want to remind you as I also remind myself, that while we can shut off the characters on T.V, or in the movies who we don’t feel anything for, we should think twice before shutting off our feelings, compassion, or interest for those we know nothing about in the real world. Everyone has feelings. People matter, whether you know them well or not, they were once an innocent, helpless child, they were once full of life and hope–they had dreams, and yes, somewhere deep inside, beyond all the unknowing, beyond all the fear, regret, pain, remorse, or hate, beyond all their goals not yet achieved–they still may dream of something magical and magnificent. We all have feelings–we all have a passion, a purpose, yearning to break free.
I dare you today, to go out into the world during your day, and help someone in need. Help someone get their hope back that may have lost it, or their faith in the decency of humanity. It is good to get what we want, to have our goals, and achieve them; there is nothing wrong with that, that is healthy, and necessary. But as we do better and better each day, it is also our responsibility to remember others–to help when we can, to do more. Let’s build better characters not only on the big screen, but in our own lives. And together, we can all watch a life–our life as it unfolds–that we are proud of.