Brendan Fraser’s Career Chronicle: From ’90s Icon to ‘Brenaissance’

Brendan Fraser was recently filmed sobbing at the Venice Film Festival.

The actor had just received a six-minute standing ovation for his role in Darren Aronofsky’s new drama The whalein which he plays a 600-pound gay man who is confined to a wheelchair.

He tried to leave the theater, but that only increased the thunderous applause.

It’s the kind of career highlight that The Mummy Star probably wouldn’t have thought this possible in the last 20 years.

For the most part over the past two decades, Fraser has been MIA, limited, as my colleague aptly put it, to a Google search: What happened to Brendan Fraser?

The answer now? He is back.

Fraser was one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men in the 1990s and 2000s

Brendan Fraser (left) and Arnold Vosloo in The Mummy Returns (2001)

(Keith Hamshere/Universal Studios)

Fraser’s disappearance was no small matter; In the early noughties, he was at the peak of his attraction after starring in popular family-friendly adventure films like The Mummy, George of the Jungle and Looney Tunes: Back in action.

He was tan, with a huge chin and blue eyes with stony abs and pecs. His previous looks have been the subject of countless TikToks and photomontages created by fans begging for a “Renaissance.”

“I then look at myself and just see a walking steak,” Fraser said in a 2018 GQ Profile.

He also showed that he had acting skills in the 1992s school ties, plays a Jewish scholar at an anti-Semitic boarding school alongside Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris O’Donnell.

Around 2005, Fraser’s career began to change.

The family-friendly studio films in which he excelled began to decline in popularity; Inkheart, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Furry Vengeance and a sequel to The Mummy all had lackluster receptions.

The quality of the films in which he starred declined rapidly, as did the size of his roles.

It’s easy to say that an actor has “fallen away” — some do — but in 2018, another explanation for Fraser’s retirement finally came GQ Profile.

Fraser claimed to have been sexually abused in 2003

(Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

In the interview, Fraser claimed he was sexually assaulted in 2003 by Philip Berk, former head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (the organizing body behind the Golden Globes). Berk called Fraser’s claim “a total fabrication.”

“I got depressed,” Fraser said GQ. “I blamed myself and felt unhappy because I said, ‘This is nothing; This guy reached out and he caught a feeling. Summer went by and I can’t remember what I worked on next.”

He added that the alleged incident made him “retire” and “feel withdrawn” and he lost track of who he was. Acting, he said, “withered on the vine… Something was taken from me.”

Fraser suspected the incident led to the HFPA blacklisting him, which Berk also denied, although he was rarely invited to the Golden Globes after 2003. “The phone stops ringing in your career and you wonder why. There are many reasons, but was this one of them? I think that was it,” the actor said.

Around the same time, Fraser’s body began to deteriorate after years of stunt work. “At the time I did the third mummy picture in China [in 2008]I was put together with tape and ice,” he explained.

Fraser had to undergo multiple surgeries and an “exoskeleton” made of ice packs to keep his body moving.

He famously revealed just how far he was willing to push his body while filming The Mummy in 1999. In a scene where his character is hanged (but not killed), Fraser agreed to tighten the rope around his neck for a realistic portrayal. The next thing he remembers, he was lying in the gravel while a paramedic crouched over him. “I was completely suffocated. It was scary,” the actor recalled EW in 2019.

The “Brenaissance” begins

Speak with The Independent last year, Daniel Stephen, host of The Brendan Fraser Podcast, identifies both the GQ Article and the disastrous reboot of 2017 The Mummy, starring Tom Cruise, as the catalyst for Fraser’s resurgence on the internet. “It was a realization for people who may or may not have seen this film that no one wants a mummy film without Brendan Fraser,” he says. “I think that was kind of a wake-up call that we miss him.”

“Especially after his [alleged] The attack came to light,” added Andrew Ortiz, founder of film merchandise brand Super Yaki. “It just gave people more reason to root for him.

Brendan Fraser in The Whale

(A24 via AP)

“I think when we see someone who has been wronged or taken advantage of in society, we want to see them win. And I think in the absence of bigger wins, you’re going to bet a lot on those very public comeback stories.”

It helps that Fraser seems like a genuinely lovable man — something that doesn’t always come naturally in the movie industry. That GQ For example, Profil begins by talking about a horse he shipped from Mexico to his ranch in New York because it was “beaten up” by other horses.

Last year, footage of the actor went viral because of his emotional response to hear about the internet’s support for him.

The whale is Fraser’s first starring role in a film since the 2013 direct-to-DVD action film Breaking out. To say it’s a comeback would be an understatement. The role already has Fraser in serious competition for an Oscar next year.

If he gets it, it will be a story worthy of its own cinematic narrative.

Read The Independent‘s four-star rating from The whale here. Brendan Fraser’s Career Chronicle: From ’90s Icon to ‘Brenaissance’


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