Heading into the Cannes Film Festival to promote his latest buddy comedy The Nice Guys, Russell Crowe found himself amid speculation about two high-profile projects: one coming together, the other coming apart.
“I’m gonna do it,” Crowe told members of the press Friday at a Beverly Hilton roundtable about Universal’s The Mummy, the new reboot starring Tom Cruise and directed by Alex Kurtzman, days after The Hollywood Reporter reported the move. In the film, Crowe will play Dr. Henry Jekyll, Fellow of the Royal Society, opposite Cruise, who will portray a Navy SEAL on a mission to root out terrorists in the Iraqi desert. Crowe counts Cruise as an old friend from when the latter was married to Nicole Kidman. “When he got a divorce, I was part of the settlement package and I went to Nicole,” he joked.
The Oscar-winning actor said he was sold on the idea after a chat with Kurtzman, the screenwriter of Transformers. Currently in production, The Mummy is Kurtzman’s second directorial effort after 2012’s People Like Us. “Those kind of creative collaborative conversations, if they’re explosive like that from the first time you start talking, you’re actually into a really good place,” Crowe said of the meeting. “How they’ve pulled all of this stuff forward into a contemporary world, and how they build it out from there and how all the other characters interweave in each other’s stories — mate, it’s fantastic.”
Crowe expressed full confidence in Kurtzman’s limited directing experience and offered a critical distinction between this iteration, which is targeting a June 2017 release, and the previous one starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz, which collected $416 million worldwide in 1999. “This one is kind of more designed to seriously scare the shit out of you.”
As for Blood Meridian, a film based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy and produced by No Country for Old Men’s Scott Rudin, Crowe says he knows nothing about the movie. “I’m friends with [director] James Franco and I’ve talked to James Franco about working with him, but I have no idea where that came from,” he said of reports about the project falling apart earlier this week.
Crowe and Nice Guys co-star Ryan Gosling are set to join producer Joel Silver and director Shane Black in Cannes for its premiere ahead of the movie’s May 20 domestic release.