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ARNOLD VOSLOO

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Vosloo literally went into the family business when he decided to become a performer. "My parents, who are still in South Africa, were both actors. There was then no television in South Africa, and no real film industry, so they worked on stage. I didn't go to school until I was around 8, because I traveled all over the country with my parents as part of a theater troupe. Someone would put up a poster in a small town saying we were doing this and that play, and then two weeks later, the caravans would roll in, and they'd be in a church hall or a town hall or whatever, and would perform this play. The local farmers and townspeople would come from miles around, and pay 40 cents for a ticket. So I kind of grew up in the wings.

"Once I got older and had to go to school, my parents thought it best that they settle down - and also there was no money, really, in acting," Vosloo continues. "They managed a drive-in theater when I was really young; they'd do one or two plays, and occasionally go back to regional theater, but essentially just ran this drive-in. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in the wings of the theaters, and also sitting in the old station wagon which was the drive-in's delivery vehicle, and used to pick up and drop off the reels of film from the distributors.

"It was a kind of fantastical childhood to grow up in a drive-in theater, because whenever they changed the program, there would be two new movies to watch. And my parents let me watch anything and everything, so I had a good time. I remember asking my father when I was a small boy, 'What is that up there? Where do they make these movies?' I clearly remember him saying, 'This comes from America,' and allegedly I said,

'That's what I want to do. I want to go to America and make thos movies.' And lo and behold, here I am, 1999, the Mummy."

 

He eventually began working as an actor himself, still only in live theater. But one day, his agent sent him out to read for a small role in the Patrick Swayze science fiction movie Steel Dawn. "I had no clue as to what the hell I was doing," Vosloo admits, "But I had a great time. It was nice to be there and be part of the whole thing, and to start the learning curve. I still haven't seen it, and I'm sure I'll be terribly embarrassed to see what I did in it, but that's water under the bridge."

 

In the late 1980s, as other countries have done in the past, the Republic of South Africa was offering "tax shelter" money to foreign film companies - extending the filmmaking dollar a long way. Cannon Films made a lot of movies there, and Vosloo was in several - though he doesn't even remember being in, for example, Buried Alive, a cheesy horror film with Robert Vaughn, Donald Pleasence and John Carradine (in his last movie). "Circles in the Forest I know , because that had South African content, and was about the extinction of the elephants in the forest. But all that other stuff - it's the old Cannon blur. The actors and crew in South Africa were collectively known as Cannon Fodder."

 

Volsoo was part of a local theater company around this same time. "A play the company had done went to the Edinburgh Festival; I wasn't part of that particular cast. I suppose an impresario in the States saw it and asked the creator of the play to come do it in the States, and I was asked to come along. It was called born in the RSA [Republic of South Africa], and was about seven characters, black and white, a sort of collage talking about their very different experiences in South Africa, their lives culminate in an event that has its roots in the evils of apartheid."

 

The troupe began their American tour in Evanston, Illinois, then went on to San Fransisco and Seattle. "It was a great way for me to see the country, spend seven, eight months on tour, being paid and having a clean bed to sleep in. It was absolutely fantastic." He was about to return to South Africa when he was apporached by Al Pacino to co-star in a revival of Salome in New York. "I went in and rad, and got it, and did that with Sheryl Lee and Al Pacino; he played King Herod and she played Salome, and I was John the Baptist. That was great for me, because he hadn't done a play in eight years, so everybody came to see him, and in turn saw me. While I was doing the play, someone who had seen me in it asked me to stay and do a film which led to another film, which led to another film...

 

He appeared in The Finishing Touch (a Corman film co-starring Ted Raimi), 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Hard Target, the two Darkman sequels, Diary of a Serial Killer (also known as Rough Draft) and Zeus and Roxanne. Just prior to The Mummy, he played the leading role in Progeny, a project he found very interesting. " I play a young ER doctor," Vosloo explains. "He and his wife have a strange experience one night; there's this light, the clock seems to have stopped and weird things happen. He sees a shrink because he's disturbed about it for weeks afterward; he can't sleep, he's tired. She takes him into some sort of regression thing, and he starts believing that they were abducted by aliens, and that his wife was impregnated. At this point, she comes to him and says that she is pregnant. So we're not sure if he's just obsessing about this, or if in fact this really happened. At the end, he drags her into the ER room, puts her under and gives her a Cesarean section, to see what's in there. It's pretty fantastically gory.

"I had a great time making this little movie, I must tell you," Vosloo raves. "I saw it, and it's really fun. Brian researched all this, and spoke to people who felt they were abducted. In fact, at one screening, this woman came up to him and said, 'Ohmigod, this happened to me.' Brian got excited and came running over to me. 'Do you want to meet her?' I said, 'Hell no, I don''t want to meet her. Keep her away from me! I don't want to know this stuff!'

 

He also enjoyed working on the two Darkman movies: Darkman II: The Return of Durant and Darkman III: Die Darkman Die. He decided not to base his performance on that of Liam Neeson, who played the role in Sam Raimi's theatrical original. "If that's what the audience is going to expect, I decided, then I'm going to fail miserably, because I can't do that. I'm just going to have to be me. We made some mistakes with those; the scripts perhaps weren't as ready as they should have been. It's an interesting story, and it would make perfect episodic television, maybe once a mont on HBO or Showtime. But I had a great time making those up in Canada."

 

Not all his American moviemaking experiences were so pleasant, however. While he loved being directed by John Woo and acting alongside Lance Henriksen in Hard Target, there was a major donwside - named Jean-Claude Van Damme. "I felt very bad for John because Jean-Claude was such a monster to work with," Vosloo recalls. "John would call Jean-Claude to show what he wanted to do, and Jean-Claude would say, 'Let him do whatever, I'm on the phone' - which he was, most of the time. So John sets up the shot, lays 30 yards of tracks, and Jean-Claude's going to run next to the track and shoot the gun. Takes three hours to set up. Out comes Jean-Claude, who says, 'Why are we doing it this way? Why don't run on the other side of the track?' I'm thinking, 'Does this guy know how lucky he is to be working with John Woo? He's the pre-eminent pure action director in the world, and this guy is telling him what to do.'

"It's a good movie, and I'm proud of what Lance and I did as the bad guys. At a screening, a Universal exec said he loved the two bad guys so much, he felt like putting up money just so we could continue their story. John Woo was a pleasure, but while I hate speaking badly about anyone, I don't have anything good to say about Jean-Claude."

 

He has even fewer kind words for Gary Busey, based on co-starring with him in Diary of a Serial Killer, a sort of variation on Strangers on a Train. "A serial killer, me, finds a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, and tells him 'You shouldn't write about all this other junk; write about me. I kill women. ' I end up pursuing him, and kind of spin him up in this web. I think the director took his name off it for various reasons. It was basically taken away from him by Gary Busey, who's another Jean-Claude type. He and I almost came to blows one night on the set. I couldn't take his abuse - not of me, but of some of the other actors and some of the crew. I told him to  f**k off, basically, and we charged at each other, the crew had to stop it. I had an awful time making the film, although it was a very good idea.

 

Since The Mummy, Vosloo has deliberately not done any other movies. "I do not intend to unless somehting stupendous happens," he explains. "I feel so good about the film and my work in it, and all the people involved, that I said to Steve Sommers, 'I want you to know that I'm not going to work until this movie comes out, because I really think it'll bring bigger and better things my way. My future is entirely in your hands - so don't screw up,' "Vosloo laughs.

"But that is the decision I've made. I feel the worst thing I can do right now is go off and do a film that just is not of great quality. I've waited long enough and worked my way up in the ranks, I should just wait and see what comes my way."

   

 

 

Arnold Vosloo is Now Hollywood's Favorite Bad Guy

Article by Sapa: NEWS24, 1989/99    

Johannesburg - South African actor Arnold Vosloo is receiving telephone calls from people in Hollywood who have not contacted him in years, since his latest movie "The Mummy" became one of the money-spinners of the year. 

 

Vosloo, 36, who played the villain in a series of B-grade movies for over a decade, once again played the baddie, an Egyptian sorcerer called Imhotep, but this time he hit the big league. 

 

To date, "The Mummy" has made $130 million from its United States release. It earned $44 million in its first weekend, a feat beaten only by Steven Spielberg's film "Jurassic Park". 

 

Vosloo, speaking to the press in Johannesburg on Monday during a promotional tour, was amiable and seemingly unaffected by his new found fame - or fortune. 

 

His contract ensured that he receives a sizeable bonus for every $25 million the movie makes. The movie is set to beat the $500 million mark with its worldwide release and later video releases. 

 

"Hollywood's a very strange place," Vosloo said. "When the figures for the movie started coming through on that first Monday, people started calling me that I had not worked with in years - ex-agents, co-stars. They phoned to say I should contact them if there was anything they could do for me." 

 

He was under no illusion about the transience of fame, however: "Hollywood will unfortunately always be about business." 

 

The former Alberton boy, who made his name in the movie "Boetie Gaan Border Toe", Vosloo now lives in Santa Monica, Los Angeles,with his wife and a dog. 

 

His family, like that of fellow South African actor Charlize Theron, still lives in Alberton. 

 

Vosloo said his parents were expected to accompany him when he returned to the United States on Monday evening. "They think they are coming for a long holiday in Los Angeles, but they are actually coming to look after the dog," said Vosloo, who is to continue his promotional tour in Europe. 

 

A number of actors who have risen to fame playing a villain have found themselves typecast. Vosloo said he did not mind getting "bad guy parts" providing they were substantial roles. 

 

There is a difference playing the bad guy in a Bruce Willis film and playing a role like Kevin Spacey played in "The Usual Suspects", which earned him an Oscar, Vosloo said. 

 

In "The Mummy" Vosloo plays an evil Egyptian high priest who has an affair with the Pharaoh's mistress and then kills his master. For his sins, he is punished with the ultimate curse - an agonising, endless living death in a tomb in the city of Hamunaptra where he is destined to stay for eternity. 

 

The movie is based on the original 1932 Boris Karloff movie which spawned a crop of "mummy" films over the years. 

 

The latest version does away with the sombre horror format, providing a swashbuckling adventure, compete with desert wars, hidden treasure, double-crossing villains and a handsome hero in jodhpurs, played by Brendan Fraser, who wins the heart of the beautiful leading lady, Rachel Weisz. 

 

Vosloo admitted no-one expected the movie to do as well as it did "otherwise I doubt they would have given me a bonus", he said with a chuckle. 

 

The movie, filmed in seven months in Morocco and London, was released during the summer holidays just ahead of the much-awaited "Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace". 

 

Vosloo said the movie's success could be attributed to good timing and the American public's fascination with Egypt. To get to grips with his character, Vosloo worked with Egyptologist Stuart Smith of the University of Los Angeles, looking at the culture and language of the ancient Egyptians. 

 

"The only problem with this language was that when you asked someone to 'pass the water' it became a five page monologue, so it often had to be cut. Fortunately not many people speak ancient Egyptian." 

 

Vosloo said occasionally the role called for some improvisation and he was tempted to sneak in a few "choice" Afrikaans words in the dialogue. "I did not do it, but I was tempted. I knew they would kill me when they found out." 

 

Asked what advice he would give to other want-to-be actors hungering for the bright lights of Hollywood, Vosloo said: "It's a very tough business, if someone asked me if they should go to Hollywood, I would probably say no." 

 

He said looking back, it was hard to imagine how he got through those "bleak days". "But then you get a role like this one, and it suddenly all seems worth while."

 

 

South African Sunday Times: Return of the Mummy

By Marianne Gray - Sunday Times, June 20, 1999. 

Local actor Arnold Vosloo has grabbed Hollywood's attention with his interpretation of one of the screen's most enduring monsters.

 

"This is not your grandfather's Mummy," says Arnold Vosloo of his new hi-tech action adventure movie, The Mummy, a big budget (about R450-million) "humorous and romantic" remake of the 1932 Boris Karloff film. "It's upgraded and hi-tech and a whole new thing," Vosloo explains. "The top guys from Industrial Light & Magic did the 3-D computer-graphic image effects and this Mummy is the most complicated creature ever built by them. This is amazing stuff, new technology never seen before. Apparently it is rated at seven+ T Rex's. In industry jargon a T Rex is the complexity measuring unit used for special effects. One T Rex comprises around 50 000 descriptive moving units which makes my mummy heading for something around half a million descriptive units. 

 

Interviewed during the shooting of the interior shots for the film at Shepperton Studios and later in London, Vosloo, 37, is friendly, tanned and a lean 2m. He looks a bit like Billy Zane but is more fun. We joke about how he now speaks English, Afrikaans and ancient Egyptian, spoken in the film phonetically and occasionally made up. 

 

"I was tempted to slip in a few Afrikaans words, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't have come shambling through the sand dunes yelling 'kaalgat' or something like that."

 

Although originally a seriously trained theatre actor, Vosloo is clearly chuffed as hell to be the Mummy. It has been 54 years since Universal Studios last gave serious screen time to the Mummy and this version shot straight to the top of the US box office ratings within hours of its release, taking Vosloo with it. 

 

Dealing in fantasy and special effects is something Arnold Vosloo is fairly familiar with. Among other films, he's been in the Darkman series (two and three) and knows a thing or two about special effects. 

 

"I thought being the Mummy, especially as he is 3 000 years old, would be great because to me the Mummy is the seminal horror icon," Vosloo says in his deep, part transatlantic, part-Afrikaans voice. But I also really wanted to go on location to North Africa. Shooting in Morocco was a wonderful adventure even if it was also rather fraught. We were in

the middle of nowhere working in blazing heat for six weeks." 

 

"We stayed in a tiny village which had no restaurants, only one hotel, like the hotel in The Shining. You expected a man with an axe to come down the corridor at any time. We all freaked out. And we had the worst time with the food, couscous solidly. We just stopped eating. I had nutritional milkshakes in powder form flown in for me. 

 

It was truly bizarre. If there was a nice Four Seasons Hotel maybe it would have been different. Who says making movies is a luxury. They pay you enough not to have to work for a year, but you need that year to get your head back together." 

 

Half the time on the day's shoots we had no idea where we were going. It was a sort of follow-the-sun kind of thing. Luckily we had a military helicopter and mega-medical stuff on standby just in case of an emergency, like one of us getting sunstroke or being kicked by a camel. 

 

"I found working with special effects easier than being around camels. Stephen Sommers, the director, would just say 'there's a mummy walking towards you' or 'there's a swarm of locusts overhead' and you'd just have to imagine it. We had more than 130 special effects shots.' 

 

Technically the most difficult scene to shoot was the scene when a bug comes out of my neck and crawls back through my cheek simply because the camera, a motion caption camera, is operated by a computer set by a timer. Normally it's a human that operates the camera and things can be compensated for. But with a motion caption camera you have to be in synch to the last millimetre and it takes for ever. That scene took two days to shoot." 

 

Physically the worst scene, which is about five seconds at the beginning of the movie, is when they wrap me up and put me in the coffin and pour bugs on me and close the lid. It took about five hours to shoot the scene and it was bizarre and unpleasant. I was freaking out because I couldn't move or see or hear and my mind was becoming irrational." 

 

Vosloo's mind is normally rational, sharp as a razor and, to have survived in Hollywood as an outsider, tenacious. 

 

He was born in Pretoria, the son of parents Deon and Joyce who, he says, are actors and now live in Alberton. For a short while they ran the drive-in theatre in Uitenhage, his earliest memory of the magic of the movies. 

 

"I remember sitting in the old station wagon parked next to the projection box watching flicks, mainly horror movies," he says. "I love horror movies." 

 

Vosloo's childhood was one spent travelling South Africa, depending on his parents' work. When he left school he went to the army (SA Fifth Battalion infantry) and then spent two years with PACT (The Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal). He'd made his name on stage in Pretoria, at the Market, in films, before he left South Africa 10 years ago armed with a Dalro Award as Best Actor for Boetie Gaan Border Toe and Circles in a Forest. Once in the United States, Vosloo appeared in Born in the RSA at Chicago's Northlight Theatre and starred on stage with Al Pacino in Salome. His film roles include being shot by Jean-Claude van Damme in John Woo's Hard Target and a part in Ridley Scott's 1492 (a

bad guy in a black-studded costume). Perhaps his favourite was a family film shot in the Bahamas called Zeus and Roxanne, directed by George Miller. 

 

"It's not a bad job to be paid lots to go and swim with the dolphins in the Bahamas," he says. "The best thing about making movies is the travel. You get to see the world under the best circumstances (Morocca notwithstanding). All those thankless years of working on stage for $150 a week have paid off." 

 

Earlier this year he married his girlfriend of three years, a Mexican-American accountant called Sylvia who works for Ernst and Young in Los Angeles but doesn't, he jokes, do his accounts. "We're not THAT close." 

 

They live in Santa Monica with his dog, Sophie, a staffie, his collection of pewter and silver flasks and a boat on the bay. Fellow South African actor Embeth Davidtz lives a block away and he sees Charlize Theron around and about. Vosloo, who was in South Africa on a promotional visit for the film last month, had not been back for a couple of years and feels

he's lost touch with acting progress back home. But, he says, he'd love to return for the right film or play, and also dreams of spending a month with his dog and wife at Swakopmund in Namibia, his favourite place. 

 

"I left South Africa because I wanted to make movies and they weren't making them there then," he explains. "If I

could have spoken French I would have gone to France. I think they make the best movies in the world." 

 

"I like America. It's a great place to lose yourself in, be anonymous, drift. My favourite thing is to get into the car, throw $1 000 into the glove compartment, and just drive. I really love that. People in Kansas don't know what's happening in New York. Most of them don't even know where South Africa is. You can just disappear into America." 

 

The future for Vosloo holds several offers. He talks about buying a ranch somewhere ('the day they tell me there's a Mummy sequel I'll buy a farm with a lot of space for horses, dogs, motorbikes, lots of toys'), between San Francisco and southern California. Or in the Sierra Nevada in Yosemite." 

 

It's the best place in the world. If I'm not working on the Mummy Two or something, we're spending the Millennium there in Yosemite in a cabin on a friend's ranch. I can think of nothing better, ensconced in front of a big log fire in a wood cabin with my dog and my wife, Sophie and Sylvia - the dog came into my life before the wife." (One of his passions is dog genetics and cross-breeding.) 

 

Vosloo is at the stage in an actor's life when he must decide whether to go on and play another bad guy or to play Julia Roberts's boyfriend in some movie. 

 

"I'll be happy to do something different," he admits. "I think I've done my time of going in for a week on shows like Nash Bridges to be the bad guy who slaps Don Johnson around. I've also vowed never to do another movie with prosthetic make-up - but I vowed that after Darkman and look at me now. The Mummy makes Darkman look like it's make-up free." 

 

In terms of longevity the smart thing would be to hold out for the better stuff. Ideally I'd love to do a movie, a smaller movie, then do a play, a movie, a play. Stay away from the Hollywood "fame" thing. Fame is a scary thing. America revers fame and it can be rough." 

 

 

South African Sunday Times

June 17, 2001

 

Mummy's boy

Actor Arnold Vosloo has finally found his niche in Hollywood playing an unlikely sort of action hero. LIN SAMPSON talks to the man under the bandages. 

 

I am having tea with Arnold Vosloo. His mobile face has a rare watchability and his profile is to die for. Forget chiselled. Think Greek. The nose grows straight out of the forehead and the eyes have a dark intensity that light up the bone structure. 

 

But it's the mouth that does it. The full lips are long and curly. All he needs is a Tutankhamen headdress to look as if he's stepped off a frieze on an ancient Egyptian tomb. 

 

Vosloo's body is interesting because, although it seems bulky with gleaming deltoids that bulge from his T-shirt sleeves, he is light on his feet, and when he gets up to demonstrate a sequence in the movie he has a dancer's grace. He's wearing a white T-shirt, jeans, no jewellery, not even a watch (damn, you can tell so much from a watch), and well, I'm sorry, but the sneakers are not even branded, just no-name sneakers, slightly scuffed, and white socks.

 

In The Mummy movies he portrays a menacing, scaly apparition with a looming mendacity. In real life he's a pussy cat. His biggest vice is a tendency to use the F-word. 

 

"I'll never really get used to talking about myself," he says. "These interviews are so weird. I know people hope I'll say I'm f***ing Pamela Anderson or I have to shave my butt or that I was caught sleeping with a hooker, stuff like that. That's what people want to hear, isn't it?" 

 

Vosloo grew up in Uitenhage, a long way from Holly-wood, where his parents managed a drive-in cinema and he lived in a sensurround of skop, skit en donner. 

 

"I used to sit in our station wagon in my pyjamas watching movies. My favourite was Thunder Alley . I watched it seven nights a week." A few years ago he was just another South African trying to make it in Hollywood, too poor to afford a place to stay. "I bought a Kombi I slept in and joined a 24-hour gym so I could wash. All the inspiration I ever needed was a phone call from a producer." 

 

Eventually the call did come, from his agent to audition for the part of John the Baptist in a Broadway production of Oscar Wilde's Salome , playing opposite Al Pacino.

 

"I had my ticket home because I didn't think I'd get it. When I auditioned I was really amped out, as if I had coke in my veins. Probably because I was so desperate, I got the part. Al Pacino always said I was better in the audition than I was in the play." This set Vosloo on the road to fame and it wasn't long afterwards that he was chosen for The Mummy . 

 

The Mummy and its sequel are part of a new generation of action-horror movies, made in the spirit of Raiders of the Lost Ark and old radio serials with badass special effects and Rider Haggard plots. These may be popcorn movies but they are many layered and skilled, with lots of authentic detail, using the latest technology to bring them to life. 

 

As Vosloo explains: "When I act a scene, I go onto this sound stage, which is backed with a blue screen. In the film I might be meeting some wild being, half scorpion, half human, but the only thing I have to guide me is some 19-year-old kid with a broom marked with a white cross. It's pretty intense." 

 

Vosloo believes that down the line you'll be sitting at home

watching, say, Romeo and Juliet , and you'll decide you want to see Brad Pitt as Romeo and Charlize Theron as Juliet, set in Morocco in the 1960s. In 15 minutes it will be up on the screen. The biggest stars in the world will be computer generated. More than ever, movies are big business and guys like Vosloo are the suits of Hollywood who spend their spare time checking out the Nasdaq and talking to their financial advisers. They don't have the time, or the inclination, for the excesses of the Hollywood party scene. 

 

"In Hollywood the first priority is to survive," Vosloo says. "The real trouble is that when you're a star no one says no to you. You want the best car in the world? They will buy it for you. You want 12-year-old boys? They provide them for you. The most beautiful people in the world, perfect bodies and faces, end up waiting table. If you are to survive you have to seek something deeper, to dig within yourself. You can never be complacent. I try to keep away (from the party circuit). My best friend is a guy who works on boats in the marina." 

 

Vosloo appears to have two passions well maybe three. His dog, a staffie called Sofie, his work, and his Hispanic wife, Sylvia. "Sylvia was the first person I met whom I could sleep with and talk to, well not at the same time, but you know what I mean. I feel comfortable with her. It's like wearing an old coat or a favourite pair of shoes." 

 

The couple live in a two-bedroom townhouse in Santa Monica. Vosloo drives a Toyota bakkie. His dream is to own a farm in the Karoo where he can raise greyhounds.

 

"I just love these desert spaces. I have spent time in deserts and I think you turn in on yourself in them, you grow spiritually." 

 

Vosloo is not arrogant and is seemingly unconcerned about his image. Does he know that he has Web sites dedicated to him, including one labelled The Vosloo Adoration Page , and has been called in some quarters "the sexiest man alive" since he did The Mummy ? 

 

"Oh really?" he says. "I do know I get thousands of fan letters. I guess it's because I wander around in a loin cloth, or maybe people just love a bad guy." 

 

Vosloo looks after himself. He works out in a gym even though he hates it. "I much prefer just going for a walk on the beach with my dog. I don't want to be fat, I want to be lean and mean. 

 

"I'm rather frail. I have porphyria (a hereditary metabolic disease). It isn't lethal or anything, but I do have to look after myself."  

 

In his movies the sands rise and the heavens part as he unleashes his unearthly power. However, when I ask him what word he would use to describe himself, he says cheerfully, "boring". 

 

Perhaps real would be a better word, and while some people might think Vosloo's biceps are better developed than his personality, he is refreshingly straightforward for someone who arises from the trumpery of Hollywood.

 

 

 

Arnie the Mummy gets girls gasping

SA star Arnold Vosloo stuns Hollywood by breaking box-office records with a  film that turns a mummified Egyptian priest into a sex symbol 

 

by LIN SAMPSON - South African Sunday Times (5/13/2001)

 

 

South African Hollywood star Arnold Vosloo's latest movie is setting Tinseltown alight, smashing box-office records in the first week of its release. 

 

And this week, as The Mummy Returns, sequel to The Mummy, raked in $77-million (about R620-million) in its first three days of release - a record for a movie released in a non-holiday period - the boy from Pretoria was back in South Africa, basking in his fame. 

 

Vosloo now commands up to 1.7-million a movie ( R13.5-million) but he was paid a whopping $3.5-million ( R28-million) for the sequel. "When you convert that back to rands its like lotto money. It's quite unbelievable," Vosloo said this week. 

 

Despite his huge success , Vosloo, 38, whose path to fame began with Boetie Gaan Border Toe , remains a down-to-earth boereseun. Fame, he said, was "lots of fun, especially when you've got a big hit". 

 

"I don't mind people coming up to me and saying they love the movie and eight-year-old kids kicking me on the shins and yelling 'Bad mummy!'." 

 

Looking relaxed at a top Cape Town hotel this week, the actor said he was happy to be back in South Africa, where he is shooting a new film. 

 

 "Getting off the plane and smelling the Cape was just wonderful. I haven't been here for years but it was always a place of happy memories and it's great to be back. I mean if this is winter, I can't wait for summer." Asked if he would ever return to live in South Africa, he said: "In terms of work I don't know".

 

 

"The kind of movies I make cost around $140-million (about R1.1-billion) which we could never make here. But I'll always be South African and I come back on holiday as often as I can." 

Not only is Vosloo now a recognised star but his fans reckon he is one of the sexiest men on the screen. "I'm no Mr Fitness, but I had done some exercise. When I finally got to London and they showed me my [mummy] costume, it was the size of a postage stamp," he told the Sunday Times.  

 

Although he hit headlines in his role as a mummy -- not everyone's idea of a sex symbol -- Vosloo managed to capture the imagination of thousands of fans who worship his particular brand of sexy heroism. 

 

Roger Lecomber, South Africa's managing director of film distributors United International Pictures, said: "I have never seen anything like it. Arnold has created a devoted female audience who for the first time in their lives have been turned on by a mummy." 

 

Although Vosloo's fame has come from a typecast character, he is not fazed: "There is already talk in Hollywood that this will lead to more romantic roles. But if I have to be remembered as the mummy, so be it -- I'll be quite content. It was a great break for me." 

 

In director Stephen Sommers's remake of the 1932 horror classic starring Boris Karloff, archaeologists and scavengers searching for the 3 000-year-old treasure of mummified Egyptian priest Imhotep (played by Vosloo) accidentally awaken the evil mummy from his tomb. In the sequel, the same territory is revisited. 

 

Vosloo will be in Cape Town for the next few weeks shooting scenes for his new film The Red Phone, an international spy drama. "You'll know we're around," he said, "because we're about to blow up the town with some stunning special effects." 

 

 

Blurbs

"Bubbly Lizz Meiring and I were sad after reading of Barbara Silva's death and hearing that former TV presenter Jani du Plessis also has breast cancer. But Lizz cheered me up with a tale about '80s movie heart-throb Arnold "Boetie" Vosloo, who now lives in California. Arnie was auditioning for a martial arts film in LA, where you never confess your inadequacies - one of his apparently being ignorance of martial arts.His prospective director asked him which variety he practised."Koos karate," ad-libbed Arnie rapidly, adding that it's done in gumboots."  (South African Sunday Times, December 13, 1998) 

 

Chatter: Show Me the Mummy! 

"I didn't want to be a big scary monster," says Arnold Vosloo (Darkman II) of his title role in the new action adventure The Mummy. "I wanted to find the humanity in the mummy. I really saw him as a tragic figure." Still, the South African actor had to shroud himself in the obligatory gauze for effect. "I didn't freak out when they were wrapping me until it got to the point where there were just two tiny nose holes to breathe," says Vosloo, 36[sic], whose character battles Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz. "Then I was lowered into a coffin, and they put a huge stone lid over the top." Vosloo admits that he could stay entombed for only 20 seconds at a time. "When you're buried alive, strange thoughts

go through a man's mind," he says. "Honestly, I prayed to God that there wouldn't be an earthquake because I knew they would forget about me." (By Chuck Arnold, People Magazine. Time, Inc. 1999)

 

 

'The Mummy' returns record grosses in opening weekend 

May 7, 2001

BY CINDY PEARLMAN 

It turns out not everyone wants their Mummy. Just ask Arnold Vosloo, the gauze-wrapped guru in this weekend's box office blockbuster, "The Mummy Returns," which out-paced expectations--and the competition--by earning a spectacular $70.1 million.

 

"Something embarrassing happened to me a few months ago at my bank," says the shaved-dome Vosloo, who once tread the boards at Chicago's Northlight Theater during his starving actor days. "Anyways, I'm in my bank line, and this cute teller keeps giving me the eye. Understand that because of this `Mummy' thing, I'm forever signing autographs. So when I get to the head of the bank line, the cute girl hands me a pen and paper. I look at her name tag and write, `Margaret, Lots of Love. Your Mummy.'

 

"The girl frowns and says, `Uh, Mr. Vosloo, I just wanted you to sign the form to get your cash back,' " says the actor, who adds, "[I was] so embarrassed. It was horrible!"

 

Hey, it's not as horrible as some of his weirder fans. You know the ones who really like him. Vosloo reports, "One fan, a suburban housewife wrote to me and said she wanted to sacrifice her children to my mummy character Imhotep. I passed that letter on to the police."

 

MORE `MUMMY': Vosloo wasn't the only one wearing bandages in the box office champ. Director Stephen Sommers says, `I blew one of Brendan Fraser's knees, broke one of his ribs and tore a disc in his back." Of the latter, Sommers adds, "It's actually in the movie. It's when Brendan's leaping to get on the hot air balloon plane. He crashed into the side of the thing, screaming in pain, and I knew something bad had happened."

 

* With "The Mummy Returns" blowing away the non-holiday movie opening record set by "Star Wars: Episode I--The Phantom Menace," get ready for "Mummy III" and more. . . . The Rock is filming a prequel called "The Scorpion King," which co-stars Chicago's own Michael Clark Duncan. And Patricia Velasquez, who plays the bandaged one's babe, says that she will be back to hold her Mummy dearest. "It's already been arranged," she says.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Local actor Arnold Vosloo has grabbed Hollywood's attention with his interpretation of one of the screen's most enduring monsters, writes MARIANNE GRAY
  "This is not your grandfather's Mummy," says Arnold Vosloo of his new hi-tech action adventure movie, The Mummy, a big budget (about R450-million) "humorous and romantic" remake of the 1932 Boris Karloff film.
"It's upgraded and hi-tech and a whole new thing," Vosloo explains. "The top guys from Industrial Light & Magic did the 3-D computer-graphic image effects and this Mummy is the most complicated creature ever built by them. This is amazing stuff, new technology never seen before. Apparently it is rated at seven+ T Rex's. In industry jargon a T Rex is the complexity measuring unit used for special effects. One T Rex comprises around 50 000 descriptive moving units which makes my mummy heading for something around half a million descriptive units.
Interviewed during the shooting of the interior shots for the film at Shepperton Studios and later in London, Vosloo, 37, is friendly, tanned and a lean 2m. He looks a bit like Billy Zane but is more fun. We joke about how he now speaks English, Afrikaans and ancient Egyptian, spoken in the film phonetically and occasionally made up.
"I was tempted to slip in a few Afrikaans words, but I couldn't do it. I couldn't have come shambling through the sand dunes yelling 'kaalgat' or something like that."
Although originally a seriously trained theatre actor, Vosloo is clearly chuffed as hell to be the Mummy. It has been 54 years since Universal Studios last gave serious screen time to the Mummy and this version shot straight to the top of the US box office ratings within hours of its release, taking Vosloo with it.
Dealing in fantasy and special effects is something Arnold Vosloo is fairly familiar with. Among other films, he's been in the Darkman series (two and three) and knows a thing or two about special effects.
"I thought being the Mummy, especially as he is 3 000 years old, would be great because to me the Mummy is the seminal horror icon," Vosloo says in his deep, part transatlantic, part-Afrikaans voice. But I also really wanted to go on location to North Africa. Shooting in Morocco was a wonderful adventure even if it was also rather fraught. We were in the middle of nowhere working in blazing heat for six weeks."
"We stayed in a tiny village which had no restaurants, only one hotel, like the hotel in The Shining. You expected a man with an axe to come down the corridor at any time. We all freaked out. And we had the worst time with the food, couscous solidly. We just stopped eating. I had nutritional milkshakes in powder form flown in for me.
It was truly bizarre. If there was a nice Four Seasons Hotel maybe it would have been different. Who says making movies is a luxury. They pay you enough not to have to work for a year, but you need that year to get your head back together."
Half the time on the day's shoots we had no idea where we were going. It was a sort of follow-the-sun kind of thing. Luckily we had a military helicopter and mega-medical stuff on standby just in case of an emergency, like one of us getting sunstroke or being kicked by a camel.
"I found working with special effects easier than being around camels. Stephen Sommers, the director, would just say 'there's a mummy walking towards you' or 'there's a swarm of locusts overhead' and you'd just have to imagine it. We had more than 130 special effects shots.'
Technically the most difficult scene to shoot was the scene when a bug comes out of my neck and crawls back through my cheek simply because the camera, a motion caption camera, is operated by a computer set by a timer. Normally it's a human that operates the camera and things can be compensated for. But with a motion caption camera you have to be in synch to the last millimetre and it takes for ever. That scene took two days to shoot."
Physically the worst scene, which is about five seconds at the beginning of the movie, is when they wrap me up and put me in the coffin and pour bugs on me and close the lid. It took about five hours to shoot the scene and it was bizarre and unpleasant. I was freaking out because I couldn't move or see or hear and my mind was becoming irrational."
Vosloo's mind is normally rational, sharp as a razor and, to have survived in Hollywood as an outsider, tenacious.
He was born in Pretoria, the son of parents Deon and Joyce who, he says, are actors and now live in Alberton. For a short while they ran the drive-in theatre in Uitenhage, his earliest memory of the magic of the movies.
"I remember sitting in the old station wagon parked next to the projection box watching flicks, mainly horror movies," he says. "I love horror movies."
Vosloo's childhood was one spent travelling South Africa, depending on his parents' work. When he left school he went to the army (SA Fifth Battalion infantry) and then spent two years with PACT (The Performing Arts Council of the Transvaal). He'd made his name on stage in Pretoria, at the Market, in films, before he left South Africa 10 years ago armed with a Dalro Award as Best Actor for Boetie Gaan Border Toe and Circles in a Forest. Once in the United States, Vosloo appeared in Born in the RSA at Chicago's Northlight Theatre and starred on stage with Al Pacino in Salome. His film roles include being shot by Jean-Claude van Damme in John Woo's Hard Target and a part in Ridley Scott's 1492 (a bad guy in a black-studded costume). Perhaps his favourite was a family film shot in the Bahamas called Zeus and Roxanne, directed by George Miller.
"It's not a bad job to be paid lots to go and swim with the dolphins in the Bahamas," he says. "The best thing about making movies is the travel. You get to see the world under the best circumstances (Morocca notwithstanding). All those thankless years of working on stage for $150 a week have paid off."
Earlier this year he married his girlfriend of three years, a Mexican-American accountant called Sylvia who works for Ernst and Young in Los Angeles but doesn't, he jokes, do his accounts. "We're not THAT close."
They live in Santa Monica with his dog, Sophie, a staffie, his collection of pewter and silver flasks and a boat on the bay. Fellow South African actor Embeth Davidtz lives a block away and he sees Charlize Theron around and about. Vosloo, who was in South Africa on a promotional visit for the film last month, had not been back for a couple of years and feels he's lost touch with acting progress back home. But, he says, he'd love to return for the right film or play, and also dreams of spending a month with his dog and wife at Swakopmund in Namibia, his favourite place.
"I left South Africa because I wanted to make movies and they weren't making them there then," he explains. "If I could have spoken French I would have gone to France. I think they make the best movies in the world."
"I like America. It's a great place to lose yourself in, be anonymous, drift. My favourite thing is to get into the car, throw $1 000 into the glove compartment, and just drive. I really love that. People in Kansas don't know what's happening in New York. Most of them don't even know where South Africa is. You can just disappear into America."
The future for Vosloo holds several offers. He talks about buying a ranch somewhere ('the day they tell me there's a Mummy sequel I'll buy a farm with a lot of space for horses, dogs, motorbikes, lots of toys'), between San Francisco and southern California. Or in the Sierra Nevada in Yosemite."
It's the best place in the world. If I'm not working on the Mummy Two or something, we're spending the Millennium there in Yosemite in a cabin on a friend's ranch. I can think of nothing better, ensconced in front of a big log fire in a wood cabin with my dog and my wife, Sophie and Sylvia - the dog came into my life before the wife." (One of his passions is dog genetics and cross-breeding.)
Vosloo is at the stage in an actor's life when he must decide whether to go on and play another bad guy or to play Julia Roberts's boyfriend in some movie.
"I'll be happy to do something different," he admits. "I think I've done my time of going in for a week on shows like Nash Bridges to be the bad guy who slaps Don Johnson around. I've also vowed never to do another movie with prosthetic make-up - but I vowed that after Darkman and look at me now. The Mummy makes Darkman look like it's make-up free."
In terms of longevity the smart thing would be to hold out for the better stuff. Ideally I'd love to do a movie, a smaller movie, then do a play, a movie, a play. Stay away from the Hollywood "fame" thing. Fame is a scary thing. America revers fame and it can be rough."
 
 
 
 

Arnold's Angel