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?


Arnold 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 releases...


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 or movies?


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 films.


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 the moment.


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 take part.


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 about it.


MS: If Peter Jackson would offer you a horror script...?


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 Frankenstein, etc."


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 6


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 me!" 


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 pretty wild."




Mummy Dearest

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 rock.


"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. 






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. 


Arnold, 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



Arnold, 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 Arnold darkly. 


"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 walking on?" 


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." 


Arnold proposed 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 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."





Arnold's Angel