Trailers & Clips

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - Featurette

Though director Rob Cohen's resume includes blockbuster action flicks such as xXx and The Fast and the Furious, many moviegoers do not know that the filmmaker is a student of anthropology who has long been intrigued by-as well as sometimes a resident of-Asia. When approached to helm an epic adventure that would take The Mummy series in a Far-Eastern direction, Cohen realized he could finally join two of his deepest passions: grand-scale filmmaking and China.

The director explains his lifelong interest in the country in a foreword to the moviebook companion piece for The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. He provides, "I have a deep love of Chinese culture and a complete fascination with the sweep and tumult of its 5,000-year history. Since high school, when my mother began painting Chinese watercolors as a hobby, China had occupied my imagination and reading time. I was intrigued by various dynasties, most especially the Tang and the Ming with their early explorers discovering Indonesia, India, Africa and the giant 'treasure ships' that may have circumvented the world long before Magellan, and might have reached the Americas long before Columbus."

Cohen explains, "I'm a history buff, and I had read an enormous amount on Chinese history even before I came into this. I have loved the culture since I directed Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and a miniseries about two Chinese brothers immigrating to the United States, called Vanishing Son."

"The idea that the Terracotta Warriors of Xi'an were, in fact, the mummies, really appealed to me," says Cohen. "It was all about exploring the true history of China during two periods, 200 B.C. and 1946, in an unusual way and having a lot of fun with it. It was an opportunity to use all the goodwill of The Mummy and the wonderful characters that Steve Sommers set up. All the great elements are there, but I wanted to take it in a whole new direction, away from Egypt and into Asia. It's a brand-new adventure for our heroes; spectacular, colorful and completely Asian."

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor marks the third time James Jacks and Sean Daniel have produced a Mummy film. For this chapter, they would be joined by Bob Ducsay and Stephen Sommers as producers. All four men had begun their collaboration by creating the first two in the series, with Sommers directing and Ducsay serving as editor on both and executive producer on The Mummy Returns.

Adds producer Jacks: "We've been part of the O'Connell family for almost a decade now. To help see their adventures continue and Rick and Evy begin to pass the mantle on to their son, Alex, makes us all feel proud. I admit, it's like seeing one of your own children grow up."

With director Cohen on board to inject an Asian influence into the series, the returning producers from the first two chapters and Gough & Millar's revamped screenplay, it was time to cast a shape-shifting emperor and a family of fighting O'Connells. Not to mention the thousands of man hours necessary to design gun battles and high-speed chases, creating the worlds of 200 BC and 1946 would prove quite a challenge.

Duration: 2:42

Published: Jul 24, 2008 12:00 AM