Universal Pictures and director Rob Cohen have set Luke Ford to star in the third installment of The Mummy, in a move that potentially sets the franchise up for future films, reports Variety.
The 26-year-old Australian actor was cast with the expectation that he will eventually carry the franchise.
“We may spin off into a complete father-son direction with Brendan (Fraser), but by getting an actor who is in his 20s and not a teenager, we can also put the future on his shoulders,” Cohen told the trade. “He tested against four much more established actors, and he was magic when he read with Brendan.”
In The Mummy sequel, Ford will play Alex O’Connell, the 20ish son of adventurer Rick O’Connell (Fraser), who journeys into the forbidden tombs of China and into the Himalayas, where they run into a new shape-shifting mummy, a former Chinese emperor who was cursed by a female wizard.
Jet Li plays the mummy, Michelle Yeoh the wizard. The studio has tested six actresses to replace Rachel Weisz in the role of Evelyn Carnahan O’Connell after she declined to reprise.
The script was written by “Smallville” creators Miles Millar and Alfred Gough; Sean Daniel, Jim Jacks, Stephen Sommers and Bob Ducsay are producing.
Shooting will begin in Montreal on July 27, and then move to China. The film will open in July 2008, just before the Olympics begin in Beijing.