Forget Mummies — ‘Dragon Emperor’ Star Brendan Fraser’s Real Fear Is Jet Li

Co-star Luke Ford, however, couldn't wait to say, 'Hey, I helped beat Jet Li up!'

If you decided to search for a mummy, you wouldn’t necessarily plot a course toward a snowy land full of skilled martial artists, mountain yetis and ancient emperors, right? Rob Cohen, director of begs to differ.

“Being able to put all my love of Chinese culture into a fantasy like ‘The Mummy’ and the wildness of it — that was a challenge I couldn’t turn down.”

To Cohen, the yetis and martial arts make the perfect setting for Rick O’Connell character to continue his mummy-fighting ways.

Fraser explained: “We’ve taken the premise of relocating the O’Connells from Egypt and putting them in China, which is, as we all know, another archaeologically rich nation. A long time ago, Rob was a Harvard major in archeology, with a special interest in Chinese studies. So this was a passion piece for him.”

No wonder Cohen didn’t want to wrap his “Mummy” in ancient Egyptian gauze.

By setting the latest “Mummy” flick in China, the director got to hire badass extraordinaire to play Emperor Han, the latest embalmed baddie O’Connell has to defeat. As anyone would be, the mummy-battling veteran admitted he was more than a little nervous about having to fight off his latest adversary. “Come on, it’s Jet Li,” Fraser said. “We have an idea of what he does, how he does it.”

Not every member of the cast was as nervous as Fraser. Actor Luke Ford, who plays Fraser’s son in the film, said he couldn’t wait to fight such an epic villain. “Getting to help defeat Jet Li, that was kind of fun. Jet Li is someone that is a power and entity,” the Aussie newcomer gushed. “I really wanted to say, ‘Hey, I helped beat Jet Li up!’ ”

Helping to beat up a martial-arts expert like Jet Li didn’t come easy, though. The Western contingent of actors had to train for months in all different styles of Eastern martial arts in order to keep up.

, another new addition to the “Mummy” cast, trained in Wushu Japanese sword fighting for two months. Bello, who takes over for , said her Western clothing didn’t exactly work well with all the action.

“It was so hard. My dresses would get ripped,” Bello laughed about her vintage 1940s wardrobe malfunctions. “They would have to sew me in. In that first fight, every time I flipped, my pantyhose were always down around my ankles.”

Well, that may be all the unwrapping you’ll see in this installment of the “Mummy” franchise, but maybe the next flick will be more traditional.

Keep an eye out on the MTV Movies blog for details on what Cohen, Fraser and the rest of the “Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” cast revealed about the possibilities for “The Mummy 4.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor.”

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