‘Mummy 3′ Star Maria Bello Talks About Taking Over For Rachel Weisz, Fighting An Invisible Baddie

'She has the same name, but she's quite a different character,' Bello says of the transition.

After a long hiatus, one of cinema’s greatest archaeologists is making his way back to the big screen. But if Rick O’Connell’s leading lady looks a little different, it’s not the age: It actually is a different person.

And that suits Maria Bello just fine, the actress told MTV News, saying she was eager to step into the role of Evelyn Carnahan O’Connell, made famous in the first two “Mummy” films by Academy Award winner Rachel Weisz.

“Let me tell you, I like the other two movies. I love this movie,” Bello said of “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” from the blue carpet at the Independent Spirit Awards. “It’s so dynamic and like nothing you’ve ever seen. [Director] Rob Cohen has so changed the franchise.” The biggest change of all, of course, being Bello herself.

The blond actress understands that comparisons to Weisz — who reportedly refused to sign onto the sequel due to script issues — are inevitable. But despite the fact that she plays the same character, Bello insists that the roles are not that similar.

“I think Rachel is so brilliant, and she was beautiful in that part, but they wrote my character so differently, I felt like it was a totally different woman,” Bello said. “She has the same name, but she’s quite a different character.”

Part of that manifests itself in more action-oriented challenges, Bello said. While the official plot synopsis centers on father-son duo Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Alex (Luke Ford) waking the shape-shifting mummy Emperor Han (Jet Li), it’s Bello, not the rough-and-tumble gentlemen, who gets the film’s first kick-ass fight sequence, the actress revealed.

“In the beginning of the movie I do a sword fight with an invisible mummy,” Bello said. “I had to be on wires and do sword work. It took days to do, and it was so much fun. I would do flips on the wire and I’d land down and be like a little kid.”

Bello admits to having so much fun, in fact, that she’s looking forward to three more “Mummy” movies, confessing that she’s already signed on for a whole trilogy of sequels.

“I don’t know when, but it’s going,” she said. “[There will] absolutely be ‘The Mummy 4.’ ”

And when there is, Bello says she’s already got an idea for where it can film.

“Something that takes place in the Amazon,” Bello suggested.

“The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” opens August 1.

For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.