Bello Replaces Weisz in 'Mummy' Sequel

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Brendan Fraser will have a new lady love in Universal's upcoming third installment in the "Mummy" franchise.

Maria Bello has won the race to take the female lead originated by Rachel Weisz.

According to Variety, the star of "A History of Violence" and "The Cooler" will play Evelyn O'Connell, adventurer wife of Fraser's swashbuckling character. Weisz had to exit the Rob Cohen-directed film due to the ever-popular "scheduling conflicts."

Set to begin production this summer, with an eye toward a 2008 release date, "The Mummy 3" will also add Aussie actor Luke Ford as the O'Connell's son and potential caretaker of the franchise.

Mile Millar and Alfred Gough's script moves the action to China, where our heroes encounter a new Mummy, an ancient Chinese emperor (Jet Li) cursed by a witch (Michelle Yeoh).

In Weisz's absence, Universal and the filmmakers screened a wide variety of high profile actresses to take the role.

Bello is a two-time Golden Globe nominee for her film work and the winner or a Screen Actors Guild prize as part of the ensemble cast of "E.R." Most recently seen in "World Trade Center" and "Flicka," Bello will next be seen in "Butterfly on a Wheel" and "The Jane Austen Book Club."

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