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THE MUMMY RETURNS

On Location

Principal photography for The Mummy Returns began in the blazing deserts of Morocco. Prior to that, the company completed second unit work in Jordan, where key action and visual effects sequences were filmed. Jordan locations included the gorges at Petra and a railway station just outside Amman, which was outfitted with vintage steam engines.

In Morocco, the production took up residence in the small desert town of Erfoud, the same locale that served as home base for The Mummy two years earlier. An increasingly popular film destination for directors looking to capture the Sahara Desert, Erfoud is also a major attraction for tourists who enjoy watching the sun set over the spectacular sand dunes.

After completing work in Erfoud, Sommers led his cast and crew to Ouarzazate, a one-time French Foreign Legion garrison town where action sequences were filmed at a specially constructed desert airfield.

The company then moved to England and settled in at Shepperton Studios where ancient pyramids, palaces and temples were reconstructed. Practical locations used in England included the Tower Bridge over the River Thames, the London streets in front of the British Museum, a mammoth sand quarry in Bedfordshire and a country park in Buckinghamshire. One pivotal London chase scene involves an old-fashioned red double-decker bus. Buses were rounded up from private collections as far away as Wales and Belgium, then restored and dressed for the shoot with real ads from the era.

According to producer Sean Daniel, the filmmakers originally envisioned an entirely London- based shoot. Although the story expanded beyond the British Isles, Daniel knew the difficulties of shooting in exotic locations all too well. "There is no way you can prepare for sun in the Moroccan desert," he said.

But once back in notoriously chilly London, the cast and crew were almost nostalgic for the blazing Moroccan sun. "Everyone told me that this was the worst British summer in years!" said Jacks. "It was rainy and chilly and our night filming was constantly interrupted by weather and rainstorms."

The physical challenges of the shoot motivated the filmmakers to bring back as many veterans from the first production crew as possible. "The key to filming in tricky locales is building a sense of trust," said Sommers. "When I came to England on the first Mummy, I was the only American. Even though I was an outsider, the crew and I hit it off immediately and had so much fun. This was doubly comfortable. When I walked on the set, not only did they know me, they knew it would work out in the end — and that I wouldn't leave them stuck in the desert!"

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