Cohen also mentions Rachael Weiss who decided not to join the returning cast for the third film:
Actors are just like other people, only more so, to paraphrase an old
saying. They are complex souls who have trained themselves to be mirrors of
reality, to show us who we are or who we hope to be...
An actor's thought process deciding to do a role is beyond analysis. Neither their agents and managers, nor their coaches, trainers, and nutritionists can tell you what they are going to do or not do. I am sure, like everyone in a creative process, a decision comes after a labyrinthian journey but, even after 30 films, I cannot predict what is going to happen.
Perhaps it was simply that Rachael has the ability to smell a turd from a mile away and took preemptive measures to ensure she steered her career clear of the steaming road apples that Cohen may be hacking together.
Regardless, Cohen has re-cast Weiss's part as Evelyn O'Connell with Maria Bello (World Trade Center, History of Violence), hoping the the audience will forget about the fact that there is a different actor playing the part. We'll see about that.
Cohen says he is taking the movie to a new place, but honestly it sounds like the same old synopsis from the last two films:
Jet Li plays a despotic Emperor in 50 B.C. whose evil is punished by a
terrible curse laid on him by wizardress Michelle Yeoh: he and his army are
turned into to terra cotta for all time; that is, unless he is re-awakened
which, of course, is where the O’Connell’s come back into it.
So you know the rest from here, The hero and his comic-relief wife team up to battle a bunch of undead chinese warriors, attempting to put an end to the curse and rid the world of the big bad guy from 50B.C. Expect a lot of CGI, big sounds, explosions, blah blah, etc etc.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor is scheduled to be released August 1st, 2008.