Sometimes people like to render metaphors literally, and in the case of The Mummy, the metaphor “take a licking” results in the Mummy (Sofia Boutella) laying her tongue on Nick Morton (Tom Cruise). Although, let’s be honest, Tom Cruise is always just playing Tom Cruise.
A short USA Today article on Boutella’s turn as Ahmanet (whom Boutella describes as “the definition of a feminist: strong, powerful, and opinionated”), included a weird little tidbit that writer-director Alex Kurtzman added into the fight between Ahmanet and Nick on set:
Another bizarre, last-minute dominant move was Kurtzman’s idea. He suggested that Boutella give Cruise a power lick during their battle. Boutella and Cruise stifled giggles when cameras rolled, and it worked.
“It’s destabilizing. It comes out of nowhere,” says Boutella. “That’s how Ahmanet treats things. She owns stuff. She owns people. We did it maybe eight times, all on his cheek. And I’d try to drag it as long as possible.”
“As long as possible” means eight slow, long licks of Cruise. I almost wish he was bald in this movie so she could drag it across his head. That would really be unsettling. It seems like this movie has only two places to land: fun, competent action movie—or weird as hell, so-bad-it’s-amazing. A few more licks might have secured the latter. We’ll see later this week.