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What Ever Happened To Brendan Fraser?

The return of a king.

Credit: Shutterstock/Carrie-Nelson

Brendan Fraser was a household name in the ’90s and early 2000s. He was a go-to if Hollywood needed a handsome action man to throw himself around the screen. Fraser was pumping out films consistently until he slowly faded from the limelight. Thankfully, he’s back with a bang starring in a range of productions. However, many of us are still asking what happened to Brendan Fraser?

The Rise

Fraser made his first appearance in a film called Dogfight in 1991. He played sailor #1 and kicked off an acting career that has lasted nearly three decades. Fraser was a brilliant comedic actor, landing a part in Airheads and the Encino man. He reached commercial success with George Of The Jungle, which grossed $147 million worldwide.

He starred in the 1992 sports drama film School Ties, which had him playing a talented Jewish quarterback struggling to hide his identity in an anti-Semitic prep school. This proved Fraser has the emotional depth to work outside of physical comedy.

Brendan continued to act in minor parts but found his opus Magnus with 1999’s The Mummy. Fraser played Rick O’Connell, an American adventurer and treasure hunter. The film was a box office success grossing $416.4 million against an $80 million budget. It led to two direct sequels, a prequel, an animated series and a recent reboot. It solidified Fraser in the acting world, and it seemed like a career on the rise, but why did Fraser disappear?

The Disappearance

Fraser’s withdrawal from the spotlight was not caused by some grandiose incident but was instead the culmination of several events. Firstly, his body was struggling to keep up with his work. By the time he filmed the third Mummy instalment, he claims he was:

“Put together with ice and tape. I was building an exo-skeleton for myself daily.

The intensity of the stunts and general wear and tear led to Fraser being in and out of hospital for seven years. This involved partial knee surgery, vocal cord repair work, and a laminectomy, a procedure where a portion of your vertebrae is removed from the spine. This led to Fraser’s inability to perform stunts and gradual weight gain.

Another reason for Fraser’s withdrawal was an incident in 2003 involving the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk. As Fraser was leaving the Beverly Hills Hotel, he was waved over by Berk. Fraser explains that:

“His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.”

At the time, Fraser was concerned that speaking out about the incident may heavily affect his career and stayed silent. However, it still appeared to harm his career, which he claims “withered on a vine”. Fraser praises those who came forward during the “Me Too” movement for giving him the confidence to come forward with his incident.

The final reason was the passing of Fraser’s mother in late 2016. A minor role in the third season of The Affair led to Fraser being asked to interview with AOL’s BUILD youtube channel. The interview is a rough watch; Fraser seems to be a husk of a man, with each answer accompanied by an undeniable sadness. There was plenty of speculation in the media about the reason for Fraser’s harrowing performance. The reason was eventually revealed; his mother had passed away only days earlier. Fraser explained that:

“I buried my mom, I think I was in mourning, and I didn’t know what that meant.”

The culmination of these events led Fraser into a deep depression. He shut himself away from public life and put acting on hold. He explained that he didn’t hide out of anger or spite; instead, he no longer felt comfortable in the public eye.

I just felt I couldn’t be a part of it. I didn’t feel that I belonged.”

The Return

Although Fraser’s role in The Affair led to that dreaded interview, it also allowed him to step back into the spotlight. An interview with Tik Tok cosplayer @littlelottiecosplay led to Fraser portraying his kind-hearted nature and reigniting the internet’s obsession with him.

@littlelottiecosplay

“Shucks, ma’am!” 🥰🥰🥰 Adding to the Brendan love from earlier today. #brendanfraser #themummy #mummytok #rickoconnell

♬ A-O-K – Tai Verdes

Fraser’s sincerity resonated with the viewers who demanded that he be embraced back into the folds of Hollywood.

Hollywood listened as Fraser became swept up in several different projects. He voices the recurring role of Cliff Booth in DC’s Doom Patrol. Fraser is also starring in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming film Killers Of The Flower Moon, alongside big-name players Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. Fraser is also set to star as the lead in The Whale, directed by Darren Aronofsky and adapted from Samuel D. Hunter’s play of the same name. This makes the true start to Fraser’s triumphant return, in the event that has been dubbed the “Brennaissance.”

Fraser often played the part of the swash-buckling hero, who swoops in, saves the day, gets the girl, and rides off into the sunset. Sadly, that isn’t the real world, mummies and monsters don’t plague our day-to-day, but that’s not to say evil doesn’t exist among us. Depression, sexual assault, loneliness and insecurity are the real demons that plague our lives. Unlike the monsters portrayed on screen, we can’t defeat these problems with a mystic amulet or magic spell. Instead, we must find the courage to confront them, day in and day out, to co-exist and eventually overcome them.

Fraser’s journey back to fame has elevated him past the point of some nostalgia-driven actor The “Brennaissance” is a testament to an individual’s ability to rise above their demons and take back their lives. I can’t wait to see what Fraser comes out with next, especially if it involves killing another mummy.

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