WITH negative reviews across the board and underwhelming box office takings, questions are already being asked about what exactly went wrong with the big-screen reboot of The Mummy.
The much-hyped Tom Cruise vehicle has been variously described as the “worst movie he’s ever made,” an “irredeemable disaster” and a “non-stop gauntlet of humiliation” by reviewers since its release earlier this month.
Now, Variety reports that if anyone should be blamed for the misfire, it’s Cruise himself. The actor exerted an “an excessive amount of control” over the film, having a huge say in what actually made it to screen.
Calling it a “textbook case of a movie star run amok,” Variety quotes several sources from the film who say Cruise “exerted nearly complete creative oversight, essentially wearing all the hats and dictating even the smallest decisions on the set.”
Variety reports that Cruise was contractually afforded input into just about every aspect of the film’s production and promotion, from script approval through to when it would hit cinemas.
Universal provided a statement to Variety refuting that Cruise had negatively influenced the production.
“Tom approaches every project with a level of commitment and dedication that is unmatched by most working in our business today,” the statement read. “He has been a true partner and creative collaborator, and his goal with any project he works on is to provide audiences with a truly cinematic moviegoing experience.”
It’s reported that Cruise ensured big changes to The Mummy’s storyline, with the star personally commissioning two writers to work on a new script. This script update pushed other characters into the background — including the Mummy herself, played by Sofia Boutella, who originally had almost equal screen time to Cruise.
Cruise’s Nick Morton was beefed up, given more screen time and — SPOILER ALERT — a plot twist that saw him become possessed. It all added to more screen time for Morton, less for the diverse cast of supporting characters.
“This is very much a film of two halves: before Tom and after Tom,” admitted the film’s supervising art director Frank Walsh at a London screening of The Mummy.
And the results speak for themselves: The Mummy is “the sort of film that feels like four different stories written by ten different people,” says one reviewer.