Today, Sunday, July 10, 2022, The Mummy Returns hits ITV screens at 2:30pm. The film sends viewers back into the outrageous world of Rick O’Connell and the resurrected Egyptian mummy Imhotep. But in the previous movie, actor Brendan Fraser almost died.
During some of the The Mummy’s early scenes, Rick was in an Egyptian jail where he was saved by Evie. During this scene, Brendan was suspended in the air by a rope as his jailers attempted to execute him.
In real life, this hanging scene was almost fatal for Fraser.
Looking back, he said: “I did get fully choked-out. It was scary. Rick is dangling at the end of the rope, and he’s such a tough guy that his neck didn’t snap. We did the wide shot, which was the stuntman going down, and he had a harness on, and it looked great. Then they’ve got to go in [for a close-up of Fraser’s face].”
He revealed he was standing on a “hangman’s gallows” with a hemp noose placed around his neck.
The first take went great, he did his best acting like he was choking and dying. But things quickly went wrong.
“[The Mummy director] Steve [Sommers] says: ‘Can we got for another one and take up the tension on the rope?’ I said: ‘All right, one more take.'”
Fraser tried to do one more take being hung, but he quickly lost consciousness.
“The stuntman took up the tension on the rope,” he said. “And I went up on the balls of my feet, then I guess he took the tension up again, and I’m not a ballerina, I can’t stand on my tip-toes. I remember seeing the camera start to pan around, and then it was like a black iris at the end of a silent film.”
Fraser likened blacking out to “the Death Star powering down”.
When the star regained consciousness he was on the ground with gravel in his ear. He was greeted by an EMT (Emergency Medical Technicians) who reportedly said: “Hi! Welcome to the club, bro! Ha ha ha!”
Sommers remembered the events of that day very differently. He said Fraser was “totally” to blame for how the hanging stunt went wrong.
“He tightens the noose,” he remembered. “And then, as we’re about to get the shot, he’s trying to make it look like it’s really strangling him. I guess it cut off his carotid artery, or whatever, and knocked him out.”
Sommers added: “He did it to himself.”
Despite the pair’s disagreement, they continued to work together once again.
Two years after 1999’s The Mummy, Stephen Sommers and Brendan Fraser worked together on The Mummy Returns – to great success.
The film received a bigger budget of $98 million (versus The Mummy’s $80 million), and earned a staggering $435 million at the box office.
A prequel spin-off was released just a few years later – The Scorpion King – before a third film was released in 2008 titled The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.