Casting for the next instalment of The Mummy franchise is underway, with 26-year-old Luke Ford set to star in the film.

The Australian actor has been picked with a view to working towards a father-son relationship with Brendan Fraser, who played the lead role in the first two Mummy movies.

Rob Cohen, director of the forthcoming movie, told Variety: "We may spin off into a complete father-son direction with Brendan, but by getting an actor who is in his 20s and not a teenager, we can also put the future on his shoulders.

"He tested against four much more established actors, and he was magic when he read with Brendan."

The new movie will see Ford play the son of the well-known adventurer character that Fraser has played in the previous two instalments.

A shape-shifting mummy will be the villain, played by Jet Li and the production team is currently seeking a replacement for Rachel Weisz, who will not be reappearing in the new movie.

The first two films in the franchise - The Mummy and The Mummy Returns - were both hugely successful at the box office.

The Mummy was nominated for an academy award for best sound and a Bafta for visual effects.

Shooting is expected to begin during the summer, firstly in Montreal before moving to China and the movie is expected to open in 2008.

Ford has been involved in the shooting of Elissa Down's Black Balloon and has also starred in Kokoda and TV productions.

01/05/2007 15:11:52