As fate would have it, the sequel, entitled "Night at the
Museum: Secret of the Tomb" would be comic legend Robin
Williams' final appearance before the cameras, as well as the
penultimate film featuring veteran nonagenarian actor Mickey
Rooney, both of whom died in 2014.
The credits for "Secret of the Tomb," which opens in U.S.
theaters on Friday, read "In loving memory of Mickey Rooney,"
and "For Robin Williams - the magic never ends."
In the latest installment, the plot of which might best be
distilled as "Night at the British Museum", Stiller, his teenage
son and the museum's come-to-life characters must travel to
London to save the decaying magical tablet that animates the
natural history museum's exhibits each night.
Back for a third go-round in the series, which has so far
generated nearly $1 billion at the worldwide box office, are Ben
Stiller as the night security guard, Owen Wilson and Steve
Coogan as the diminutive cowboy Jedediah and Roman Centurion
Octavius, museum head Ricky Gervais, and Williams as U.S.
President Teddy Roosevelt.
Australian actress Rebel Wilson joins the franchise as a
lovelorn British Museum security guard, along with Dan Stevens,
of "Downton Abbey" fame, as a comically non-comprehending Sir
Lancelot and Ben Kingsley as a politically incorrect Egyptian
Stiller does double duty, also appearing as museum caveman
Laaa who embarks on an improbable romance with Wilson's lonely
British security guard.
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"He set a really high bar," said Stiller of Williams, paying tribute
to the actor's kindness and generosity of spirit. In the course of
making three films together, he said he never got over being a
Williams fan, a sentiment echoed by director Shawn Levy.
And when Stiller's character and Williams as Roosevelt bid farewell
to each other toward the film's end, it strikes a poignant note.
"This character (Roosevelt) has always stood firmly at the soul of
this franchise," said Levy, who helmed all three films.
He was vague about the possibility of a fourth film.
"This movie is about letting go. It brings a certain closure for
these characters," he told a news conference.
But given the realities of the business of film making, he added "I
suppose I can't predict whether that resolution will change."
(Editing by Patricia Reaney and James Dalgleish)
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