Moviestar (German movie magazine)
November/December issue 06/2001
„Hopefully there will be more horror
than adventure in "The Mummy 3"!
An interview with ARNOLD VOSLOO
Arnold Vosloo, born 1962, who, after his
great success as Imhotep in both Mummy movies, is about to take one of the first places among Hollywood's movie stars, celebrated his
first success on the stages of his native country South Africa.
He got first prizes for his work at the South African State Theatre for plays like "More Is In Lang Dag", "Don Juan" or "Torch
Song Trilogy". He won the very sought-after Dalro Award for Best Actor for two of his early films "Boetie Gaan Border Toe"
and "Circles in a Forest". After his move to the U.S. he successfully began performing on stage which led to roles in TV productions
and major movies like Ridley Scott's "1492" or John Woo's "Hard Target".
Fans of the genre noticed him when he took
over the role of Darkman from Liam Neeson. Before his great success as Imhotep he appeared in Brian Yuzna's sci-fi thriller
"Progeny" as a doctor whose wife is abducted by aliens. Arnold went to Munich in July and stayed for one week to shoot the international two-part TV mini-series
"The Red Phone", for which the Germans provided the main part of the production costs. His co-stars are Michael "Star Ship
Troopers" Ironside, Joe "Riptide" Penny and Colin Selmon, who will soon appear in "Resident Evil". The film is directed by
Jerry Jameson ("Starflight One").
Moviestar took the chance to speak to a
very relaxed Arnold Vosloo in his trailer during a break in shooting.
MOVIESTAR: Can you tell us something about
"The Red Phone" and the part you're playing?
Vosloo: It's not easy to describe the plot in a few words. The film can be most likely compared to "Ronin". There are these
men who worked for the KGB, CIA or GSG9. They are unemployed at the moment, so they sign up with a big organisation called
AT-13 to fight terrorism. There are lots of movies dealing with that topic but it's surely more interesting than industrial
espionage or something like that. In our case the characters are really tough guys who take up the struggle with crime. (Arnold starts browsing the Moviestar issue with "The Mummy Returns"
cover) Does "The Mummy 2" still play in German movie theatres?
MS: They showed the film for a very long
time and still do. Did you all expect such a big success?
AV: We had to. After all it was our aim
to outdo the first movie. Everyone was willing to perform in front of the camera once again for the sequel. That means, Brendan,
Rachel, Stephen and I not only wanted to make a better movie, everyone of the cast and crew hoped for a huge profit at the
box office. In the end it exceeded all expectations.
MS: Accordingly you've got promoted to the
Hollywood big budget mainstream. Before you were an acclaimed actor in your native country
South Africa. Was it hard to get accustomed
to the working methods of the Americans?
AV: No. There's no difference. In principle
every film crew everywhere works the same. It doesn't matter if I stand in front of the camera in Canada,
the U.S., Europe, Australia
or Africa nothing changes except the surroundings. I perform, stay in the trailer during
breaks and sleep in my
hotel room at night. It's always the same.
However there's more sunshine in Africa, that's the only difference (outside it's pouring).
MS: You've already won a movie award in
South Africa in 1984 and another one in
1990. However in the U.S. you've only
played small parts before "1492", why?
AV: This was not only in the U.S. Personally
I think, that if you want to become an actor it's important to act on a theatre stage first before you perform for TV or in
a movie. In my opinion acting is a kind of training you have to work for. Gradually I started filming in the U.S. and I was offered more and more better roles. With movies
like "The Mummy" Hollywood producers noticed me and the roles grew bigger. This shows that
I've done it right.
MS: You had your first big Hollywood
role in "Hard Target" as sidekick of Lance Henriksen. How did that happen?
AV: In 1992 I played John the Baptist 18
times in the play "Salome" at the side of Al Pacino and Sheryl Lee. John Woo attended one of those performances and apparently
he liked me and gave me the role in "Hard Target".
MS: Was this your breakthrough?
AV: Honestly, I think "The Mummy" was my
breakthrough role. The people in Hollywood always knew that
I'm a good actor. Only when "The Mummy" made such big bucks, they began to notice me. In Hollywood
money counts more than anything else. You can be a very good actor but you'll only get great roles once you've played in a
big budget production. Therefore "The Mummy" is the first step on the ladder leading to the next level.
MS: When looking at your filmography it
seems that you've done a lot of low budget movies produced by B-movie producer Allan
Towers, f. e. "Buried Alive" (1990).
AV: Yes, that's right. But did I really
play in "Buried Alive"?
MS: You've played a police officer.
AV: Really? I cannot with the best will
in the world remember that.
MS: Do you remember other Harry Allan Towers
production such as "Gor" or "Skeleton Coast"
with Donald Pleasance and Herbert Lom?
AV: Yes, I remember. For "Gor" we were shooting
this scene with me for about two or three days. But it's amazing that I've forgotten about "Buried Alive". Once I'm back in
the U.S. I will get the videotape right
away. I really need this film for my movie collection (laughs).
MS: You've taken over the part of Darkman
in both sequels from Liam Neeson, who played the role in the first movie. Did his performance serve you as a model?
AV: No, not at all. Sam Raimi who produced
the second and third film and I discussed this and I asked him if I should copy Liam. Sam said that I should play the part
as if no other has played it before. In my own way. We shot for 5 months in Toronto,
Canada. It was great and we had a lot of fun. Darkman is a
weird character, kind of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
MS: Both of your "Darkman" movies were direct-to-video
AV: Yes, too bad. Many people told me, that
they liked those films very much and that they thought that they would have been worth showing in movie theatres. Too bad,
but just before I came to Germany, I heard
that HBO will air them during prime time. One every 3 months, a Darkman series so to say. Surely they will inform me about
it once I'm back in the U.S. It would
be very interesting to play the character once more.
MS: You've played Darkman, Imhotep etc.
- dark characters every one of them and partly in your TV appearances like "American Gothic" as well. Do you like such roles
better than others?
AV: Absolutely. It's simply much more fun.
I think that playing a hero is fun too, but heroes are boring. Once you've played the bad guy, it's getting harder to play
the straight hero who rescues the girl, the child or the dog. It's much more fun to kick the dog. (laughs)
MS: In a way the villain is a hero too,
because the audience loves him sometimes even more.
AV: Yes, mainly in genre movies like "The
Mummy" or "James Bond". It's working even better the more interesting the bad guy is. The villain has to be credible and interesting.
Only then it will be a good movie. Marlon Brando once said: "The success of the main character depends on how good the villain
is." I quite agree with him. You need a strong opponent who doesn't make it too easy for the hero. That's why I hate movies
with Stephen Segal. He comes into a bar, beats up twenty guys and never gets a single scratch. That's idiotic. I don't want
to watch such movies and I think I'm not the only one.
MS: In "The Mummy" movies there are many
well-done scenes in which Imhotep is only a CGI effect. However it looks like the actors are very involved.
AV: I love that. When we'll shoot the third
movie, probably at the end of next year, I would love to have even more CGI effects. Half CGI and half me, that's what I want.
It would be very interesting.
MS: Do you think that Imhotep will escape
out of the hell mouth from the end of the second movie?
AV: Of course. Steve Sommers will write
the script for the third movie. Perhaps he won't direct it, but there will be another sequel definitely.
MS: Do you like horror movies?
AV: Yes, I do. I'm not sure how much the
German people love them, but they are very popular in the U.S.
MS: Do you have any favourite directors
AV: Yes, I appreciate the work of Sam Raimi
very much. Even though "Spiderman" is not a horror movie, it will contain some real cool stuff. A friend of mine who also
worked for "The Mummy" productions was at the set of "Spiderman". He called and told me that Willem Dafoe who is playing the
green goblin is really great. Another one is this guy from Australia or
New Zealand who's doing those mind-blowing
MS: You mean Peter Jackson?
AV: Right. He makes creatures with 25 arms,
heads and legs. It's wonderful. I love those movies.
MS: He's shooting "Lord of the Rings" at
AV: I'm very keen to see them. He makes
three movies in such a short time, it's incomprehensible. The technology advances with such an incredible
MS: Back to "The Mummy". How were the CGI
effects done? What did you have to do to get facial expressions right for the film?
AV: Most of the scenes were edited with
the computer after shooting. Now there exists a technology with which they can scan your face and record all the expressions
for the computer. I had to sit in a chair, which did a 360-degree turn and I had to recite Imhotep's lines for two long days.
I read the text while the camera filmed. At the end they gave the material to the people doing the computer animations as
a basis for the movie. It's an amazing technology.
MS: Did you have the possibility to do some
sightseeing while you're here in Germany?
AV: No, I didn't even get the chance to
watch a movie on television. Most of the time I come back to the hotel around 10 pm, take a shower and go to sleep. It's always
the same: trailer, hotel room, set, trailer, hotel room, set... On Wednesday when we've finished here, we'll go to this big
lake an hour from here, I think it's called "Starnberger See". I hope the sun will shine and I can go for a swim. Then I would
have seen at least something from Munich's surroundings. There
are so many sights here. We shot some scenes at really great places, but it's work nonetheless.
MS: What future projects are waiting for
you when you'll go back to the U.S.?
AV: Thank God the strike is over now, so
that's not a problem anymore. I went to a casting for the role of the villain in the next James Bond movie. Further negotiations
will start next Friday when I'm back in Los Angeles. [When
everything goes fine, Arnold will play a villain called David
Saten, who wants to rule the world using the World Wide Web. Nigel Havers is under discussion too. Despite earlier press reports
a decision about this hasn't been reached though.] Otherwise there's something on Hawaii
and another project in Japan where I might
MS: So your agent has a lot to do?
AV: Yes, a lot of negotiations on the phone.
I will pick what I want and wait what the future will held in store for me. At the end of 2002 or at the beginning of 2003
the shooting for "The Mummy 3" will start.
MS: With the same cast and director?
AV: We will see. But probably not with the
same actors. Letting the story take place another ten years later would be a dead-end. It would be very hard to find an appropriate
plot for Brendan, the kid, etc. This wouldn't make much sense. Therefore the next movie will probably take place in our time.
2004 in New York City or something along that line. Steve
Sommers will write the script. Perhaps he won't direct it, but the script will be definitely his. And probably they will cast
today's stars like Drew Barrymore or a pretty boy like Jude Law who will fight against the mummy. Let's wait and see what
Steve comes up with. He's a very good writer. And it will surely be a lot of fun. I hope it will be more horror and less Indiana
Jones, but that remains to be seen.
MS: You'd prefer it if the movie wouldn't
be an adventure movie?
AV: I would love to have more horror, especially
in the third movie. We could do something completely different.
MS: Will they fulfil your wishes?
AV: Presumably not, if they had agreed to
my suggestions in the past, then the profit would have been smaller. Horror doesn't bring as much money as adventure movies.
If they had done the first two movies in my way, they would have earned half of the money. Nevertheless I will talk to them
MS: If Peter Jackson would offer you a horror
AV: Oh, this would be great!
MS: We wish you much success!
Interview by Uwe Huber & Daniel Wamsler
This Year's Mummy
He's centuries old but all new, according
to actor Arnold Vosloo.
"This is the biggest film I've done," says
Arnold Vosloo, "and altough I'm not the lead in the film by long shot, like producer Jim Jacks is fond of sayhing, it's The
Mummy; it's not called Brendan Fraser." That means that Vosloo plays the title
character in waht, at $80 million, os one of the most expensive horror-oriented movies ever made. By Bill Warren
After years of mulling it over and having
many scripts written, Universal has finally achieved their goal of remaking The Mummy. Although the new film is indeed based
on the 1932 Boris Karloff classic, and Vosloo does play Imhotep (the same role Karloff had), there have been many changes.
For one thing, there was a lengthy location shoot in Morocco, the sets are bigger and grander and, of course, it's in color.But
instead of a straight horror movie, The Mummy, a swritten and directed by Stephen Sommers, is more an adventure film with
a walking corpse as the villain. And don't expect Imhotep to be covered in bandages - thanks to ILM's computer wizardry, Vosloo was transformed into a rotting near-skeleton who gradually returns to human form
as the movie progresses.
Vosloo began making movies in his native
South Africa, and now lives in Los
Angeles. Most of his American movies, including the two Darkman sequels in which he played the title
role, have been low-budget and/or gone straight to video, including Brian Yuzna's recent Progeny. The Mummy is a big chance
for Vosloo, one that he hopes will change the direction of his career. "I'd done Hard Target with Jim Jacks and Sean Daniel,
who in turn produced The Mummy," he explains. "They brought me in to meet Steve Sommers, but I thought it was a longshot,
I assumed the studio would want somebody with a large name, because of people like Robert De Niro having done Mary Shelley's
Sommers, however, was very impressed by
Vosloo's sheer presence, and by his wanting to play up the story's romantic aspects - after all, Imhotep does everything for
the love of a woman, Anck-su-namun. "Thank God for Jim Jacks," Vosloo says. "I had a good experience with him on Hard Target,
and was very fortunate that he remebered me and brought me in on this."
Vosloo loved making The Mummy, despite a
few amusingly embarrassing setbacks, and especially liked working with the enthusiastic, energetic Sommers. "It was a happy
synergy; he found a crew and actors who were really willing to work with him," the actor says. "Ultimately, it was a group
effort, but he was certainly our fearless leader. This is going to do great things for him."
The movie opens with scenes set in Thebes, in ancient Egypt.
Imhotep is a high priest who has committed the sin of falling in love with Anck-su-namun, the Pharaoh's favorite - and together,
they murder the ruler. When the Pharaoh's men catch them, Anck-su-namun kills herself, knowing that through his use of the
Book of Life and the Book of Death, Imhotep can revive her. When he tries to do this, however, he's caught by the mysterious
"Mummia" - blue-painted men whose descendants are still around in the film's subsequent 1925 scenes - and buried alive. "It's
the first rah-rah-rah of the movie," Vosloo says, "and then it cuts to the present time, which in the film is the '20s. Brendan
Fraser and Rachel Weisz and everybody else then discover me, and unleash me upon the world. The first thing I do when I come
out of it, my first impulse, is to revive Anck-su-namun, to get her back. Whenever I saw Brendan, I asked him what the hell
he was doing there. 'I'm the romantic lead in this movie,' I said.
"There are four people I have to kill to
get four canopic jars that hold the vital organs of Anck-su-namun. As I kill each person, I regenerate slightly. Mummy One
and Two are ILM, then Three and Four are myself and some ILM. I didin't act with any prosthetics on when it came to Mummy
Four; for the third I had some prosthetics. For that and Mummy Four, I had pieces of plastic on my body that I acted with,
little tracking markers. They were little soft, pliable, plastic shapes - a round one, a square, oblong or whatever - which
to ILM represented the holes in my body. That's where they drew in whatever they wanted - rotten teeth for the one stuck on
my face; where it was stuck on my neck, they drew in muscles and decayed flesh. It's sort of like half of my flesh has come
back, and the other half is still decayed. If they pull this off, they surely must win every award in sight for that kind
of effects. It's going to be amazing," says the impressed actor.
When he was cast as Imhotep, the producers
asked Vosloo if he worked out and was in good shape. He told them that he did work out, and walked his dog for exercise. "But
the guy's a priest," Vosloo continues, "and I didn't want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger; that would be the wrong choice.
I should just be lean, so I walked my dog a little more in LA, then got on the plane and went to London.
"They showed me the [prologue] wardrobe,
which I thought would be a robe, because I was a priest; there was, but it was a pretty revealing damned robe. Underneath
that was what I guess Americans would call a very small Speedo, or like a G-string. It was tiny. I couldn't believe it. John
Bloomfield, the costume desginer, who's so talented and great, showed me his drawings, which were all beautiful, but 'Christ',
I thought, 'I don't look like that.' Finally I went in for the screen test, and Jim Jacks was there."
"Sure enough," laughs Jacks, "they were
these little skirts, and he had just a little bit of a belly. Not much - any guy would be proud to be in the shape he was
in. But the minute he got it on, he said 'I'm going to have to lose weight, aren't I?' I said, 'Yeah, and you've got only
two weeks. Look at Yul Brynner in The Ten Commandments, because that's what he wears, and he looks great.' He worked like
a demon, and got himself into really good shape."
"Thank God we were first shooting in Morocco," Vosloo adds. "For the first few weeks, I was wearing
robes as Mummy Three and Four, so everything was hidden and I had time to lose some weight. It's not even that I was out of
shape; it's that this wardrobe was beyond revealing. But I was adamant that I didn't want to look like somebody who spends
too much time in a gym, because thatÄs not what this guy should look like."
With its huge budget, The Mummy is on a
bigger scale than almost anything else Vosloo has done. "What was nice about this film, as opposed to working on a smaller
film, is that as an actor, I knew everything else had been taken care of. The lighting was as good as it's going to be, the
costumes, it was all there. You wanted 4,000 guys on horseback and camels? They were there. I could really focus on what I
was doing, and the end result would support me. Sometimes on smaller films, you fight for things that you shouldn't be fighting
for, so this was a great experience in that sense. I could literally sit back and just focus on me, which was a real luxury.
Everywhere you looked, you were aware that this cost a lot of money; the crew was the finest, they'd been around a long time
and worked on the great films made in London, including a
lot of American films that were shot there.
"I'd kind of gotten used to Morocco and the barrenness of it, so it was interesting to come to London and suddenly be in these immense, beautiful, golden tombs," he continues. "It really
helped me; it completely felt like the right place to be. As much as I can honestly say that I worked to create some real
character with this, by the same token, it was almost effortless, because all that stuff was done so well that I just had
to show up and say, 'Hey, I'm the guy.' Then someone yelled 'Action!' and there I went. It was nice to work this way."
The Mummy - Arnold
Vosloo: From Darkman to Imhotep, Changing One Set of Bandages for Another
By John Fordham. Cinefantastique Magazine. June 1999. Volume 31, Number
Born into a theatrical family, Arnold Vosloo took to the stage as a classically
trained actor in his homeland of South Africa.
After ten years of taking part in anti-apartheid theatre, Vosloo was invited to appear in his first American theatrical production
in Chicago in the early '90s. Director Ridley Scott noted
his imposing stage presence and cast Vosloo in the better of the two Columbus
epics, 1492 (1992), playing sidekick to Michael Wincott's heavy. As much as he enjoyed the experience, Vosloo felt his 18-month
sabbatical in America was over and headed for New
York before wending his way back to South Africa.
"I called my folks and said I'm coming home," he recalled. "Then Al Pacino's
people called and asked me to come and read for Salome, the Oscar Wilde play. I was certain they were going to want a big
name actor to take the role opposite Pacino and Sheryl Lee from Twin Peaks, who was great.
But I was there in New York, and I said 'What the heck?
I'm flying out in two days; I'll go in.' So I went in, and I was so filled with fear I gave a good reading and they hired
The New York
theatre crowd turned out in droves to see Pacino, who had not set foot on broadway since American Buffalo eight years earlier.
Once again, Vosloo made a big impression, which resulted in his second cinematic role - another bad guy, this time for acclaimed
Hong Kong action director John Woo, who was making his American theatrical debut with Hard
Target - produced by Jim Jacks at Alphaville Productions, who would
later produce The Mummy.
Before teaming up again with Jacks, Vosloo's genre connections began to
take root in a more circuitous route with John Woo introducing Vosloo to film-maker Sam Raimi. Raimi at that time was searching
for a new face to don the Darkman mask, taking over from Liam Neeson. "I did Darkman 2 and Darkman 3 for Sam so it's kind
of interesting," Vosloo observed. "My wife pointed out to me the other night - I didn't really think about it when I
took on The Mummy, but alot of genre fans might know me from these Darkman
films. It seems like it's gone this way. I just finished another horror movie before The Mummy with Brian Yusna, whom I loved.
It's called Progeny and will probably go straight-to-video. Some classic Yusna, about a doctor and his wife impregnated by
an alien, or at least he believes that she is. He sneaks her into the operating room and cuts her open. It was pretty creepy.
Now I'm doing all this horror genre stuff, which is kind of nice."
An admitted horror fan - who lists Phantasm as his taste - Vosloo is aware
of the problems associated with being typecast into the horror world. Nevertheless, he has enjoyed the unexpected challenge.
"Had you asked me how I thought I might make it in Hollywood,
I would have thought I'd go in on the character bad guy stuff. I never would have dreamed that it would have been The Mummy.
If this movie works, it'll change my life. For
better or for worse, I can't tell you now. Because I am the shark in Jaws.
I'm the fire in Towering Inferno. I am the disaster in the disaster movie. That really does type you in a way. But I'm really
proud of the film, and I'm proud of what we achieved."
"The challenge that Universal is going to have with this film, certainly
for the MTV crowd, is to change the whole public perception of this character. It's always been a guy running around in rags,
stumbling through the streets with tampons hanging from his head - it's completely not that in this movie. There's never really
been a movie where the Mummy has had super powers. There's never been a movie where the Mummy has been really scary.
I think Stephen's script addressed all that, so I think it's going to be
By Eric Moro (13thstreet, May, 2001)
A Mummy Reborn
What would a sequel to Universal’s wildly successful The Mummy be
without the return of its lead haunt? A disappointment, to say the least. That’s why Arnold Vosloo, the actor responsible
for reviving Egyptian lord of the undead Im-Ho-Tep in the 1999 remake, comes back for this summer’s The Mummy Returns,
but this time he’s bringing a friend professional wrestler The Rock in a non-WWF performance).
While some would credit Vosloo with the successful retelling of the horror
classic (after all, his performance as the mummy far surpasses that of Christopher Lee), the actor attributes the film’s
success to the creative genius behind it – friend and neighbor Stephen Sommers.
"Steve and I work out in the morning out in the Palisades
where we live," says Vosloo. "I remember he was busy writing the sequel and I never spoke to him about it because I know that
he’s sick enough to dream all this stuff up on his own. He takes full credit and whether its crash and burn or wildly
successful, it’s all owed to him."
Vosloo admits having little to no input in the creative direction of the
sequel, however he does recall a conversation in which he and Sommers discussed the making of a successful follow-up.
"I remember asking him one morning, ‘what makes agood sequel?’
because so few of them are successful," recalls Vosloo. "I think there’s only a 20% success rate, but Steve said he’s
been studying a lot of the sequels – the successful ones – and the ones that are really good are the ones that
are the same, but different. If you look at the The Mummy Returns, it’s really true. It’s the same, but different.
Instead of a wall of sand, there’s a wall of water, etc. It’s all sort of amped up a bit."
Not Your Father’s Mummy
When re-envisioning the title character for the 1999 film as well as its
2001 follow-up, both Vosloo and Sommers agreed it would have to be a monster for the new millennium – a villain that
would frighten today’s most hardened movie going audience.
"I think with all the technology today, kids wouldn’t buy [a mummy
wrapped in bandages]," says Vosloo. "That’s sort of one of the things about the first Mummy movies that always amazed
me. Looking back on them now, why were people scared of the mummy? Surely, you could just run away from this guy that’s
walking around the neighborhood in pajamas and bandages. It’d be easy just to run away from him, so we have to hype
it up a bit and create a whole new mummy."
Part of recreating the character for a modern audience required going deep
into his past – ancient Egypt, to
be exact. As such, the onscreen language spoken by Im-Ho-Tep is as close to what scholars believe people of that time period
actually spoke. That is, of course, when Vosloo’s not adlibbing.
"We worked with a guy called Dr. Stuart Smith from UCLA and he’s an
Egyptologist," says Vosloo. "He put all this stuff on tape for us and it’s kind of the closest we can come to what we
think the actual language sounded like. It’s like ancient Latin. When we speak Latin now we think it’s what it
sounded like, but we’re not really sure. The problem with a lot of this Egyptian stuff is words like ‘look out’
become like 10 lines. Steve would go, ‘No, no, no. Lose the first four words. Say that word and then say the last word.’
So basically, I’d end up making the stuff up.
Stomach like a Rock
As audiences anxiously await The Rock’s (a.k.a. Dwayne Johnson) onscreen
debut as the Scorpion King, Vosloo tells a story that depicts his counterpart as more of a soft dirt clod than a hardened
"I met The Rock in Morocco
and the first time I saw him he had a mound of food on his plate," says Vosloo. "I said to him, ‘Are you going to eat
that?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, dude what do you think?’ I was like, ‘Well, you shouldn’t, you know?’
And he said, ‘No, we wrestle in places all over the world and we’re used to weird food.’ I said, ‘Alright.’
And then like four or five days later when I flew out, I think the last time I saw him he was running for the bathroom in
a big way."
Unfortunately, stomach related illnesses are par for the course when shooting
in exotic locales. However, Vosloo learned from his first outing and took precautions this second time around.
"I got sick on the first Mummy," says Vosloo. "But this time, I took all
my own food. I took cans of tuna and Power Bars. I literally did not eat anything from there. I just took everything with
and I didn’t get sick. I was one of the few people that didn’t get sick."
In terms of actually working
with Johnson, Vosloo has very little to say on the matter. The two never appeared together in any one scene. The film’s
climax, which depicts Vosloo and Johnson locked in combat, was actually done using a CG Rock.
"When Brendan and I are [fighting with the Rock at the end], there was nothing
there," says Vosloo. "It was like a skinny ILM guy with a stick and a piece of tape on it moving where the scorpion was supposed
to be. So we never interacted at all on screen."
With The Mummy Returns poised to take the summer box office by storm and
a prequel to the franchise (The Scorpion King) already in the works, Vosloo hints at the possibility of yet another follow-up
film. After all, Universal is known for its "movie monster" franchises of the ‘50s and ‘60s.
"Clearly, the reason we’re sitting around this table today is because
the first Mummy almost made – whatever – $400 or $500 million dollars," says Vosloo. "I think if this one –
I don’t know what dollar amount it has to make – but I assume domestically in the states, if it makes $100 or
$150 million there will definitely be a third one."
While each individual actor will have to make his or her own decision, Vosloo
promises his involvement in a follow-up feature pending one condition.
I’ll definitely come back if Stephen Sommers is involved because he
really is the star of this movie," says Vosloo. "He is the mummy. He’s just such a freak and he really kind of carries
the mantle and if he wrote the next one then I would be involved in it."
In regards to being stereotyped as a movie monster villain (look what happened
to Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney), Vosloo has a very practical outlook on the subject.
"I’ve been doing this for 24 years and I think there are a few guys
that can really plan their careers," says Vosloo. "Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise might be able to sit back and say, ‘Let me
play this guy or that guy.’ They’ve got like 10 scripts to choose from. For a guy like me, I just kind of take
what comes along if its good stuff. So if there’s going to be a third one then that’ll be great and if that’s
all that happens for me then so be it."
Goodbye, Boris Karloff - there’s a scary new Mummy in Egypt, played by Arnold Vosloo!
By Pat Jankiewicz, XPOSE Magazine (Issue #34, 1999)
Forget the slow shuffling Mummies of the past played by Boris Karloff, Christopher
Lee, Lon Chaney, Jr. In the brand new The Mummy from Universal Studios, the bandaged
one is now an elemental force of nature. He can cause the Earth to shake, plagues
of bees and locusts to attack and pyramids to crumble. In short, actor Arnold
Vosloo declares, “I’m not your grandfather’s Mummy!”
When this dangerous new Mummy comes alive in the 1920s, only Brendan Fraser,
as an Indiana Jones-like adventurer, has any chance of stopping
him. South African actor Arnold Vosloo has an interesting new take on The Mummy. “The
reason I got the job is when I went in, I said ‘Look, if I did this, I would be really interested in playing this as
a man in love. I expect women to fall in love with a Mummy, not Brendan Fraser.’
After all, it is about a guy who wakes up after 3,000 years and the first thing he wants to see is the woman he loves, Anck-su-namun. I was really interested in the love story aspect and not the monster. If he was just a monster spewing bees and flies, it wouldn’t be as interesting.”
While the film is a period piece, “They’re pushing the FX and
action adventure aspects of it because they don’t want people to think it’s this dreary, slow-walking Mummy movie. It’s less a horror movie than it is an action-adventure like Raiders of the
Lost Ark. “I had done a movie called Hard Target for producer Jim Jacks, who also did The Mummy. He brought me in to audition. They were looking at some fairly
big movie stars because DiNiro had done Frankenstein, and they thought they would cast a big star as the Mummy opposite Brendan,
thankfully that didn’t happen!”
Before he becomes The Mummy, “I play the high priest of Egypt [Imhotep]. High
priests had a very privileged position in Egypt,”
Vosloo explains.“They were second or third in command to the Pharaoh. Unfortunately,
I fell in love with the Pharaoh’s wife. We kiss in a scene where she’s
completely naked - but she’s painted in gold. I smudge some of the body
paint on her shoulder when I kiss her and The Pharoah walks in and sees the smudge.
He says ‘Who’s been near you? Who touched you!’ “When the Pharaoh realized is was me, we kill him and because of that, they
put her to death. I escape and because as a high priest, I’m the only person
whocan bring her back to life, with a Book of the Dead. “I do bring her
back to life, but I get foiled by the new Pharaoh who discovers this and condemns me to be buried alive.”This is the
only time in the film where he will be seen dressed as the traditional Hollywood Mummy. “They wrap me up and bury me,”
the actor laughs. “There may only be 10 seconds where I’m actually
wrapped up. It may be the worst thing I do in the movie. It was just awful; they wrapped me tight in bandages and
put me in a coffin. The shot
took 20 seconds to do but it was a weird feeling. They bury me alive, then 3,000
years later in 1925, somebody bread from the Book of the Living and that’s what resurrects me and brings me Back.” In order to play his elemental Egyptian, the actor, “did some research and worked
with an Egyptologist at UCLA in terms of the speech, because there’s no recorded version of ancient Egyptian. We have no idea what it sounds like, so for parts of my dialogue in the movie in Egyptian, I made it up
on set and only I know what I say!” Bringing The Mummy to life took and array of special FX. “They are amazing,” he declares. “It’s
an amalgamation of live action and computer FX, they’re extraordinary,by
Industrial Light and Magic. They even had me wear a special ‘virtual suit’
to record my movements for the computer.
“I found that difficult
at first. It was hard to believe that if I wore this virtual suit, it would translate
onto film. I said, 'Why don't you use a mime or a dancer, somebody who could
really move in the way you want them to?' but they were absolutely adamant: 'No. You
have to do this, otherwise we won't recognize you when you're the skeleton.' When
the Mummy is dug up, the first time we see him, he's a skeleton. "There are four stages of Mummy and he has to kill four different
guys and get back these sarcophic jars that have vital organs in them of this woman he loved," Vosloo explains. "Each time he kills a person, he regenerates. "At first I couldn';t believe people would recognize me doing
this stuff, but as we were shooting, I became attached to it. I would look in
the computer and see myself move as a skeleton. It was amazing. I can imagine 50 years in the future, where, as an actor, you sell your face. They give you a big check, you sell your face and they do a 3-D scan of your face. That's gonna happen, I have no doubt.
"THEY WRAPPED ME TIGHT IN BANDAGES AND PUT ME IN A COFFIN"
Playing the Mummy Drove Me Embalmy - Star scared off his lover when he got
wrapped up in horror role
By Alexander Hitchen. News Of The World, June 27th 1999
With a sickening final thud, the lid on the Egyptian stone coffin closed
on a terrified Arnold Vosloo.
Locked in darkness, he felt the rasp of giant maggots and beetles scuttle
across his embalmed body, scenting his fear, searching out every crevice in the stinking, dust-encrusted bandages wrapped
tight around his limbs.
star of this weekend's smash-hit new film The Mummy, squirmed and waited...He was a professional. He knew the movie cameras
were outside, ready to capture his horrific rise from the grave. And yet part of him also realized this was no performance.
In the pitch black, something very strange was happening to his personality.
Though he could scarcely believe it, this was the Curse of Imhotep, High
Priest of Osiris and Keeper of the Dead.
And it was so strong that it forced his girlfriend Sylvia to flee from his
side, terrified at the change in a lover she thought she knew so well. "Sylvia and I had been together for two years," he
admitted. "We were planning to settle down, get married and have kids. But after a few days she suddenly faced me, and said,
'You've changed. You're not the same man who you were when you started work on the movie. You're frightening and I can't stand
it. You know what's happening to you? You're turning into him."
Arnold added: "She was just spooked out and
took off back to California. I realize now I might have
lost her for good. But at the time I was so far into the role that I could think of nothing else. Of course The Mummy is the
stuff of myth and legend, but my whole mental attitude and personality changed."
Recalling those black moments in the coffin the 39-year-old Arnold added: "I knew there were just 30 real beetles and 200 rubber ones. But for weeks
afterwards I found myself waking up in a sweat long after I was
safe at home."
The Mummy, a £60 million special effects epic, opened in Britain on Friday. The film has already made more than £100
million in America and spawned Mummy mania
in shops, with children clamoring for Mummy dolls and video
an imposing 6ft 4ins with a great dome of a shaven head, plays high priest Imhotep. He is sentenced to die and be mummified
after being caught in a compromising position with the Pharaoh’s wife.
He is buried alive, his body sticky with embalming fluid for the bandages
that would cover every inch of his shuddering flesh. Before his sarcophagus, or stone coffin, is sealed, the embalmer empties
a container of sacred scarabs – giant sized Egyptian beetles – in with him. They crawl into Imhotep’s mouth
and curse him to be undead forever. Imhotep rises out of his coffin after being disturbed by a group of archaeologists played
by Brendan Frazer, John Hannah and Rachael Weisz.
"The sight of me will make you jump out of your seat." Arnold smiled, his teeth glinting like gravestones caught in the moonlight. It’s easy
to laugh at it now, but who knows what shape the legendary curse of the mummy takes? "We filmed part of the movie in Britain, at Sheperton Studios, Sylvia came over from Los
Angeles to join me. There were these huge underground sets built to resemble the Necropolis, The Place
of the Dead. And it got to me.
"That’s when she told me I was turning into Imhotep. Luckily she didn’t
come to the desert with me." Other parts of The Mummy were filmed in the vast sandy wastes of of Morocco. "That’s when I knew something was really happening to me," said
"I didn’t feel like socializing with the other cast or crew. I’d
go to my room and stand at the window staring out into the desert night. Or sometimes I’d go out walking by myself.
Unlike filming in a town, or in the jungle, both of which are filled with things happening. In the desert there’s nothing.
The space goes on forever. I found my thoughts tuning to death of course. I mean, what might he buried under the sand I was
Arnold, who is South African added: "In my mind I went hack to my childhood,
growing up in Pretoria. In the 70s, before they had television,
my family used to run 16mm films on a projector at our home. We’d have a barbecue and drinks, and then my father would
screen a full length fea ture film, with a short film to back it up.
"I was a teenager when we got hold of Psycho and can still remember how
scared I was when I saw it. Not just the shower scene — something worse Anthony Perkins at the end, smiling and staring.
And in the darkness of my hotel room, both in Morocco and in London, I kept seeing that face in the window. Smiling and staring."
That legacy of horror turned Arnold’s
performance into a movie classic and the film’s director Stephen Sommers raves over his star. "We didn’t even
have to audition him," he said. "As soon as he walked into the room when we were casting I knew he was right for the title
role. There’s something about him, a presence, a power, this great look. I promise you, he’ll go down in history
with Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee."
SPHINX are also looking up on the home front. Arnold added: "Luckily, after it was all over and I was back in the real world, it all changed.
I was able to get back to normal with Sylvia, though it took a few weeks for me to become human again. When I came to my senses
I knew she was the girl for me and that I couldn’t bear, to lose her So I popped the question."
earlier this year, they married soon after wards, till death us do part. Though Arnold
will never forget the message lmhotep scratched in his own blood on the lid of the coffin, "Death is only the beginning."
Have You Met Mr. Vosloo, the Sexiest Mummy in the World?
By John Millar. Courtesy of The Herald, taken from Reuters Online
Arnold Vosloo looks, well, hard. The sort of guy with who it would be ill-advised
to mess. A story - which may be apocryphal, as many showbiz tales are - about the 36- year old actor's days in uniform only
adds to the image.
It's claimed that when he was doing a tour of duty in the army, at home
in South Africa, that going for a swim
required a fair degree of toughness. When Arnold and his army buddies wanted to cool off with a dip in the river they had
to make sure that it was clear of crocodiles. They did that by lobbing a few grenades into the water. The story is told by
a smiling Rachel Weisz, Arnold's co-star in the huge horror
hit The Mummy, who adds that
the South African is "hard and fit".
Rachel also says that, although he looks like an archetypal Hollywood
villain, Vosloo is a good guy. During my conversation with the tall actor I discovered she was right and that this screen
baddie is actually an old-fashioned romantic. Vosloo proved that last year when he married his girlfriend of three years,
Sylvia, in an impromptu wedding ceremony in Las Vegas.
The couple were in Las Vegas
for a birthday party when Vosloo whisked her off to the Strip to marry. It was not the best organized event. He hadn't even
thought about simple things...like a witness.
Vosloo turns on the sex appeal and charm in The Mummy as the slap-headed
Imhotep, an Egyptian high priest who is cursed to a living hell after having a fling with the pharaoh's mistress. Naturally,
as in all good horror hokum, he rises from the grave and uses the 10 plagues to cause havoc.
This meant that Vosloo had to work, very patiently, with the film's computer
experts. A scene which lasts a few seconds on screen would take days to film. One sequence, in which a scarab beetle appears
to wriggle just under Vosloo's skin until it reaches his face, took three days to shoot.
But the actor doesn't complain. "I wasn't bored. Instead, I looked on it
as a challenge to do things as precisely as the computer team demanded," he says.
The South African - whose first language is Afrikaans and his parents were
actors who ran a drive-in theatre when cash was short - sent more than a few female hearts fluttering at the screening of
The Mummy that I attended.
Now Vosloo, whose films include Ridley Scott's 1492, and the John Woo action
hit, Hard Target, is tipped to make an impact on the big screen. He's flattered to be told that he's the first sexy mummy
in movie history and that he's destined for greater cinematic glory. But he takes all that on board with a large helping of
salt. His down-to-earth attitude explains why he has deliberately not tried to cash in on being high up on the bill of a
big-budget affair like The Mummy.
"There is a lot of work in Hollywood
but so much of it is not very good. You can do a lot of films and make money but that'll last three or four years and then
you'll never work again," he says. "The Mummy is not Chekhov, but it's fun, and I got to play such a seminal horror character.
Now if the movie makes millions I suppose I'll get offered every bad guy from here on. So, the real challenge is deciding
what to do next. Should you play the bad
guy opposite Bruce Willis in some awful movie, or take on a more interesting
small film or corner the market in horror. It's kind of scary." Before making The Mummy, Vosloo had only seen the 1932 version,
starring Boris Karloff, and he says that he was a fan. Arnold
also agreed that being in this sort of sequel placed him under a fair bit of pressure. "That's because The Mummy is such an
icon," he says. "I was very much aware of that because I want horror fans to look at the movie and say that Arnold Vosloo
did okay, he didn't embarrass Boris Karloff."