'Mummy 3' is a dream role for Bello

Acclaimed star Maria Bello relishes the chance to take Rachel Weisz's place alongside Brendan Fraser and Jet Li in Mummy 3.
For the upcoming Mummy sequel, Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, Bello has assumed the role of Evelyn Carnahan O'Connell, originated by Oscar winner Rachel Weisz in the first two Mummy movies.

"She has the same name, but she's a very different character than Rachel played," Bello said. "She's a bad-ass action chick. I had to train a lot. I had to do wushu, a martial-art form, some kickboxing, swordfighting, rifle training for a couple of months before we even started shooting."

She also received a black eye from a Winchester rifle during rehearsal, but she added that she's fine now. "It's the role of my dreams. It is just a blast."

Bello will shoot for two months in China with co-stars Brendan Fraser and Jet Li.

The story is set in 1946 (13 years after M2). Rick (Fraser) and Evelyn (Bello) are retired to Oxfordshire, England, having been spies for the British during World War II. They welcome an assignment from the Foreign Office: to courier a precious artifact back to the museum in Shanghai, China from which it was stolen.

By a coincidence existing only in cinema, Evy's brother Jonathan (John Hannah) owns an Egyptian-themed bar in Shanghai. Oh, and 22-year-old archaeologist Alex O'Connell (Luke Ford) is on a dig in north-central China, unbeknownst to his parents. Alex makes the discovery of a lifetime: the tomb of the Dragon Emperor, which has been buried for millennia.

In 50 B.C., the despotic Dragon Emperor Han (Li) was cursed by wizardress Zijuan (Michelle Yeoh): he and his army were turned into terra cotta for all time...until Han is re-awakened by military zealot Anthony Wong, who wants his help in his conquest of China. The O'Connells are reunited and high adventure ensues.

According to IGN, director Rob Cohen (xXx) has stated that the film's protagonist is not actually Rick, but rather son Alex. Let's just hope young actor Ford can distract fans from the absences of series veterans Weisz and Oded Fehr.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens Aug. 1, 2008.

(Plot synopsis from worstpreviews.com.)
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