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Brendan Fraser Didn't Actually Meet Dwayne Johnson Until After The Premiere Of The Mummy Returns

When "The Mummy" was released in theaters back in 1999, both moviegoers and the Hollywood industry had no idea how successful the film would be, nor that it would become a money-printing franchise. The movie's star, Brendan Fraser, who at that point had already established himself as a leading man, told GQ that he himself was pleasantly surprised by how fans reacted to the original movie. So much so, that they got a sequel soon after. "It was just more of the same. People wanted more," Fraser said. "Lucky for us, they responded." That craving for more action came in the form of "The Mummy Returns," which was released in 2001. And although the original featured Arnold Vosloo as the villain Imhotep, this sequel presented a fresh-faced Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, then much better known as a WWE Superstar.

The stars were surely aligned for Johnson when "The Mummy Returns" went into preproduction. Up until that point, Johnson had worked his way up from a poverty-stricken childhood and failed professional football career to become one of the world's most famous wrestlers. His larger-than-life persona and his wrestling mega-fame convinced producers to hand him the role of the movie's villain, The Scorpion King. Although this must have been a thrilling opportunity for Johnson, he, along with his costars, soon realized that their scenes together would not be the experience they may have expected.

During the production, Fraser only knew Johnson as a moving stick

After the eye-popping success of Universal's "The Mummy," the sequel was green-lit to add to what would eventually become a highly lucrative franchise. Brendan Fraser explains to GQ that although the production of the second installment came with great familiarity to him, the experience was brand new for first-timer Dwayne Johnson. And despite Johnson playing the role of The Scorpion King, the antagonist to Fraser's Rick O'Connell character, the two of them never actually worked together. "I never met Dwayne until after the premiere," he recalled, "because he was a piece of tape on a stick that we referred to." Of course, Fraser is speaking about the post-production CGI treatment that Johnson's character received.

Despite Johnson making a significant shift from being wrestling's The Rock to performing in feature films, the majority of his screen appearances were covered in CGI effects. When looking back on the 2001 production, Fraser acknowledged how the technology wasn't yet quite developed enough back then. In fact, the CGI artists told him at the movie's premiere that they wished they had more time to work on it. However, Fraser believes its lower quality partly gives the film its charm. "When you watch it now, it could get remastered, I guess," he said. "But it kind of wouldn't be as fun if you didn't see the sort of janky video game character of Dwayne." 

Well, no matter how Johnson felt about how his character turned out, that was probably erased when he went on to star in his own spin-off film, "The Scorpion King."