2017’s version of The Mummy was meant as the first chapter of an ambitious new cinematic universe of interlocking monster movies, featuring the famous characters from Universal’s library of horror classics. Projects that were announced for the so-called “Dark Universe” included a new Bride of Frankenstein, a new Invisible Man, and appearances by actors like Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp. But then The Mummy tanked with critics and with audiences and Universal abandoned the Dark Universe as quickly as they launched it.

Speaking with The PlaylistThe Mummy director Alex Kurtzman now calls the experience of The Mummy “probably the biggest failure of my life, both personally and professionally.”

Kurtzman had a long career in film and television prior to The Mummy, but primarily as a producer and a writer with his former partner, Roberto Orci. Together they worked on the scripts for movies like TransformersStar Trek (and Into Darkness), Cowboys & Aliens, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. But Kurtzman says nothing prepared him for directing like actually directing (although Kurtzman had directed a feature before The Mummy; 2012’s People Like Us.)

The Mummy
Chiabella James

He now says that while there are “a million things” he regrets about the film, it also gave him “so many gifts that are inexpressibly beautiful.” He added:

And as brutal as it was, in many ways, and as many cooks in the kitchen as there were, I am very grateful for the opportunity to make those mistakes because it rebuilt me into a tougher person and it also rebuilt me into a clearer filmmaker ... And that has been a real gift and I feel those gifts all the time because I’m very clear now when I have a feeling that doesn’t feel right – I am not quiet about it anymore. I will literally not proceed when I feel that feeling. It’s not worth it to me. And you can’t get to that place of gratitude until you’ve had that kind of experience.

Kurtzman’s latest project, a TV version of The Man Who Fell to Earth premieres on April 24 on Showtime. Hopefully there aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen this time.

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