In May 2017, a few weeks before the release of “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise, Universal has revealed plans for an entire monster movie collective under the Dark Universe banner. “The Mummy” was expected to kick off the fledgling franchise with future installments focusing on the Invisible Man (played by Johnny Depp), Frankenstein’s monster (with Javier Bardem in this role), and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Russell Crowe, who had a supporting role in “The Mummy”). But it wasn’t long before the dark universe became infamous. “The Mummy” was a critical flop that North American audiences rejected and, soon enough, the whole enterprise was dropped.
Thinking about the film in a interview with The Playlist’s “Bingeworthy” podcast last week, the director Alex Kurtzman called “The Mummy” “the biggest failure of my life”.
“I tend to subscribe to the view that you learn nothing from your successes and you learn everything from your failures,” Kurtzman said. “And that was probably the biggest failure of my life, both personally and professionally. There are about a million things I regret about it, but it also gave me so many inexpressibly beautiful gifts. I didn’t become a director until I made this movie, and it wasn’t because it was well directed, it was because it wasn’t.”
Kurtzman hasn’t directed a feature film since, but directed four episodes of the new Showtime series “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” which he co-created with Jenny Lumetwho received story credit on “The Mummy.”
“As brutal as it was, in many ways, and as many cooks in the kitchen as there were, I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to make these mistakes because it rebuilt me into a more personable person. lasts, and it also rebuilt me into a clearer filmmaker,” Kurtzman said of directing “The Mummy” and how it changed his view of filmmaking. “And that’s been a real gift, and I feel those gifts all the time because I’m very clear now when I have a feeling that’s wrong – I’m not quiet about it anymore. I literally won’t go on when I get this feeling. It’s not worth it to me. And you can’t reach that place of gratitude until you’ve had that kind of experience.
Said Lumet, “I don’t think I could be here now without this experience.”
Much has been written about “The Mummy” in the wake of its failure, focusing on Cruise and his demanding process. In an article about the film reported by Variety and released a week after its debut, supervising the art director Frank Walsh was quoted as saying, “It’s really a movie in two halves: before Tom and after Tom. I’ve heard stories of how he drives everything and pushes and pushes, but it was amazing to work with him. The guy is a great filmmaker and knows his stuff. He’ll walk into a set and tell the director what to do, say “that’s the wrong lens”, ask about sets, and as long as you don’t eat what you tell him…he’s easy to work for him.”
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