Exclusive: ...and "Mummy" Makes 3

1/8/2007 11:41 PM PST

Exclusive: ...and "Mummy" Makes 3

Is director Rob Cohen about to get sprung from movie jail?

Our spies tell us that Cohen, the director of Vin Diesel action hits like "The Fast and the Furious" and "XXX," is in negotiations to direct the third incarnation of "The Mummy" franchise at Universal Pictures.

A director with those two mega-credits under his belt normally wouldn't be available to do yeoman's service on the third iteration of a Brendan Fraser franchise, but Cohen took the blame for the bloated, plotless special effects stinker that was "Stealth" -- a $100 million bomb that that fell out of Sony Pictures' skies back in 2005.

After a mess like that, you're in "movie jail" - the equivalent of purgatory for directors. Performing well on an established franchise would go a long way toward rehabbing your rep, and clearly, insiders say, Cohen's hip to this fact.

Look for Universal to make the formal offer to Cohen sometime later this week.