WWF superstar The Rock learned to loathe co-star Brendan Fraser while making The Mummy Returns. In the highly anticipated sequel to the 1999 blockbuster (opening tomorrow), the two performers play enemies whose rivalry comes to a head in a climactic battle sequence. Yet despite the violent tug-of-war, the duo never actually came face-to-face during filming.
"I was kicking at thin air," explains Rock, who shot his role as the evil Scorpion King on a separate soundstage. "The director, Stephen Sommers, was yelling things like, 'Remember you hate Brendan Fraser. You didn't even like his last movie.'" Adds Fraser: "Everything was done with special effects and our imaginations."
Incidentally, Fraser points out that not only did he and the 6'5" giant never interact on the set, "I had never even met The Rock until the premiere of The Mummy Returns [last month]. But I knew he'd be a very nice guy because my friends at Saturday Night Live told me how much fun he was when he hosted the show."
In addition to a new villain, The Mummy Returns also boasts a more grounded hero. "He's not the reckless guy he was in the first film," explains Fraser of his alter ego, dashing Legionnaire Rick O'Connell. "He's married to Evelyn the Egyptologist (Rachel Weisz) and they have a kid.
"I think Rick is really ready to hang up his gun and be a family man but, then, everything turns upside down, because his son is kidnapped and taken to Egypt," he adds. "So, this time, it's personal!"