Director Alex Kurtzman and actress Sofia Boutella are revealing more details about Princess Ahmanet in the upcoming reboot of The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise. Universal Pictures – the studio behind the iconic monster movies of the 1930s, 40s and 50s that introduced the likes of Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolf Man and The Bride of Frankenstein to fans – is hoping to create of a renaissance of the classic creatures by unwrapping its first reboot, The Mummy, in June. This time, however, the studio is remaking the tale with a twist by making the title character a female.
And while teaser trailers to date have parted with some plot points – namely how Cruise’s character, Nick Morton, perishes in a plane crash, only to wake up in a morgue in a body bag – details have been scant about where Ahmanet came from.
The new issue of EW has brought to light some of Ahmanet’s backstory:
“Ahmanet’s father reneged on his promise to make her pharaoh after he sired a son. That betrayal led her toward the shuffling terror first embodied by Boris Karloff in the original 1932 Mummy.”
The story largely takes place in London, where fans will meet Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe). But just because another familiar name from the horror film world appears in The Mummy, Kurtzman is cautioning fans not to jump to conclusion that the film is kicking off Universal’s monster universe. He says:
“The movie’s called The Mummy, not The Mummy Meets 12 Other Monsters. If we create a world that feels interesting and scary, then we will have succeeded in setting up the larger universe.”
Of Ahmanet, Kurtzman says the princess is “a woman who wasn’t content to be put in her place and wanted something more.” But despite the fact that the princess has been “put in her place,” Boutella says fans shouldn’t expect Ahmanet to be the complete embodiment of fury. Since she’s a princess, she’s regal, too. Boutella says:
“These people never shouted. They were the most powerful people, but they were just calm.”
As more and more details come out, The Mummy is promising to be one of most exciting films this summer (and not just because of another high-octane stunt sequence from Cruise). It’s refreshing to see that Universal is willing to tinker with their time-honored horror movie properties to keep the stories fresh and vibrant, and hopefully we’ll see some more of that ingenuity with its upcoming reboots of The Bride of Frankenstein and Creature From the Black Lagoon (except let the Bride keep her shocked hair-do and the Gillman his iconic design – they’re both way too cool to mess with).
With those two creations following The Mummy, perhaps we’ll finally get an idea of what kind of new monster universe – if any – Universal is brewing up in its labs.