CURSE OF THE FEMALE MUMMY
Bill Von Maurer, "Miami News", November 1980
Scene: producer Robert Solo and director Mike Newell are sitting around a studio conference room in Hollywood sipping Perrier with a lox twist and munching on Big Macs.
Newell: "You're not really serious about this, are you R.S.?"
Solo: "I'm deadly serious M.N., if you will excuse the expression,"
Newell: "But by God! R.S., nobody makes mummy pictures anymore. Nobody's made one in 30 years ever since Boris Karloff hung up his surgical wraps."
Solo: "Look, R.S.. I've always had my thumb on the public's pulse and what the public wants right how is a mummy picture. I can feel it in my ... er .... bones."
Newell: "Are you sure about that, R.S.?"
Solo: "Never been more serious about a picture in my life. They're going to eat this one up at the box office."
Newell: "I hope you're certain about this, R.S., what are you going to call it?"
Solo: "Hell of a title, M.N., I'm going to call it 'The Awakening.' "
Newell: "Oh, my God! You can't be serious! 'The Awakening?' It's God awful. Right off the bat, you get the whole picture. Mummy rising from an ancient tomb, a curse is put on the intruders, a whole lot of people die for desecrating the tomb. That's it isn't it?"
Solo: "Well, that's putting it a little bluntly, I believe, but it's something like that, I suppose."
Newell: "Who are you going to get to play the lead? A scientist, no doubt."
Solo: "You're right, the lead is a scientist and I'm getting Charlton Heston to do it."
Newell: "Good lord! the things you have to believe these days. OK, so who's going to play the love interest, R.S.?"
Solo: "I've gotten Susannah York to do it, M.N."
Newell: "Susannah York! Where'd you dig her up! Heh, heh, heh."
Newell: "Well, I'll give you the edge there, R.S., a lady mummy is no dummy."
Solo: "I'm just going to overlook that, M.N., You see, when the queen's tomb is opened, she enters the body of Char's child who is being born to his wife, played by Jill Townsend, at the very moment the tomb is being opened. How's that for an original?"
Newell: "Not bad, R.S., not bad. But there's got to be a 'Curse of the tomb' and how are you going to jazz up that old turkey?"
Solo: "Well, I'm going to steal a little bit from 'The Exorcist' to update the situation and you can bet audiences will love that. You see, the queen was forced to marry her father and she hates him. Centuries later, when she escapes from the tomb because of Char's blundering into it, she invades the body of her inadvertent liberator's little baby daughter and hides out there until the girl is 18, the same age as when the Queen died. That's when all the action begins and the blood begins to gush."
Newell: "Pretty gory little epic, eh?"
Solo: "Well, M.N., I told you that I know what the public likes, didn't I?"
Newell: "I guess I got you all wrong, R.S., this one's going to be a zinger, I can feel it myself. Yes, yes, I'll direct. It's destiny."
(A voice is heard, sounding as if it came from a tomb: "Curses!")
Solo: "What you don't get about this picture is that the mummy is going to be a woman for a change, a great Queen of Egypt who died 3,000 years ago and whose tomb is discovered by Char."
Solo: "Look, I told you to watch the humor, M.N."
Newell: "No harm intended, R.S., no harm intended."