Spoilers for The Mummy can be found in this story!
Out of all of the spectacle and weirdness that The Mummy could throw at us, the one moment that really stands out is the part where, mid-battle, Sofia Boutella's Princess Ahmanet licks the face of Tom Cruise's Nick Morton. It's a segment that really stands out in the heat of battle, and many have probably questioned why it even exists in the first place. So leave it to the film's director, Alex Kurtzman, to explain it with the following rationale:
Audiences who saw The Mummy this weekend probably will admit that yes, they did laugh at the fact that Cruise's face was licked at the most inopportune of times. While the backstory of the film did have Morton dog-eared as the living vessel that Ahmanet was planning to use in order to resurrect Set, the god of death, he was also somewhat of a love interest for the character. So, while some may have laughed at the cheek licking, others may have read this moment as an obsessive touch that showed Ahmanet's rather possessive nature over Nick. Sofia Boutella certainly did, as she confirmed in the interview she and Alex Kurtzman gave to USA Today.
Of course, it's not a huge problem if audiences tended to laugh at this moment, as one of the secret strengths that The Mummy's latest incarnation has is its killer sense of humor. While there was plenty of action in the film, as well as a good dose of scares, there's a humorous streak that runs a mile long in this film. Be it Jake Johnson's wise-cracking sidekick, Russell Crowe's violent, yet charming Mr. Hyde, or even Tom Cruise's generally wacky nature as Nick, there's plenty in this film to laugh about.
And before anyone brings up questions about the extensive level of control that Tom Cruise had on The Mummy's production cycle, both he and Sofia Boutella were committed to the moment. In fact, it was a source of on-set humor for them, as they would giggle while filming it, which probably explains why they went through eight takes of shooting the scene to get it locked. With both leads in tune with director Alex Kurtzman's intuitions, a memorable scene was born and will probably go down as a notable on lists of shocking / unexpected movie moments at the end of the year.
If you haven't seen the film for yourself, and are morbidly curious to see this moment of Mummy history, you can catch The Mummy is in theaters now.