The Story of Brendan Fraser, an Actor Who Had a Difficult Life but Is Still Loved No Less Than Keanu Reeves
At the beginning of the 2000s, Brendan Fraser was a Hollywood actor with great potential. We all remember the handsome savage from the comedy, George of the Jungle, or the brave Richard O’Connell from The Mummy. But suddenly, he disappeared from the big screen. Now social media users are wondering what happened to this once-so-popular actor.
Brendan James Fraser was born in the US. His mother was a sales counselor and his father was a Canadian foreign service officer. In 1990, Fraser graduated from Seattle’s Cornish College of the Arts and moved to Hollywood. Before he started acting, he worked in different places — he even juggled in a department store.
The first movie to star Fraser was California Man. It’s about the adventures of a caveman in Los Angeles in the 1990s. Many critics called this comedy silly, so it was rated quite low. Later, he played a few more leading roles in not-so-famous movies, like School Ties, Airheads, and The Passion of Darkly Noon.
28-year-old Fraser became famous in 1997, when the movie, George of the Jungle, was released. The story about a man who was raised by apes conquered the hearts of viewers and earned $174 million worldwide.
“I was a walking steak,” Fraser said about his then looks for which he had to work out a lot and go on a strict diet.
The actor did all the stunts himself. “I remember once I was hoisted on a crane 60 feet in the air, I had to swing down at 30 miles per hour for a 300-foot swoop,” Fraser recalled. Eventually, he got injured.
People may also remember Fraser for his role in Blast from the Past where he played a man who was born and raised in a nuclear fallout shelter and came outside for the first time at age 35. Even though the movie received mixed reviews from critics, many people loved it. Nonetheless, critics praised Fraser’s acting talent many times. For example, after the release of the movie, Gods and Monsters, one of the critics said, “Unrecognized but simply outstanding.”
Fraser’s big break happened in 1999 when Stephen Sommers filmed him in the adventure movie, The Mummy. Initially, the role of Rick O’Connell was offered to Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Ben Affleck, but the film director and the producer watched the comedy, George of the Jungle, and decided that Brendan Fraser was perfect for this role. The movie was filmed in Morocco in the Sahara Desert where snakes, sandstorms, and the scorching sun made the work really hard for the filming crew.
As a result, the movie became a commercial success, and nowadays, it’s referred to as one of the main blockbusters of the 1990s. Critics also mentioned that Brendan Fraser’s character was ahead of its time: a man obsessed with showing off how uber-masculine he was, yet he was just a normal man with real emotions, and he didn’t view his love interest, played by Rachel Weisz, as a prize.
Right after The Mummy, a few other movies starring Fraser were released. The comedy, Dudley Do-Right, a story about a kind mountie, received unfavorable reviews from critics and was a box office bomb.
The comedy, Bedazzled (2000), a story about a man who made a deal with the devil to conquer the heart of the woman he loved, received mixed reviews from critics even though it was a commercial success.
In 2001, The Mummy Returns premiered and received mixed reviews from critics but was a commercial success. Next, a few other movies were released that didn’t meet the budget spent. Looney Tunes: Back in Action was among them, where Fraser acted alongside animated characters, while the drama, The Air I Breathe, received an overwhelmingly negative response from critics.
“I felt like the horse from Animal Farm, whose job it was to work and work and work,” the actor later said.
During this time, an unpleasant incident happened: Fraser had a conflict with an influential person, and his Hollywood career went into decline. According to the actor, he became depressed and decided to leave the movie industry for a while.
Fraser’s family life wasn’t smooth either. He met his then-future wife, actress Afton Smith, at a barbecue at Winona Ryder’s house in the summer of 1993. They got married in 1998, and over their 9 years of marriage, the spouses had 3 sons, Griffin, Leland, and Holden. In an interview, the couple mentioned that their eldest son, Griffin, had autism.
In 2007, Brendan and Afton decided to divorce. Their sons live with their mother, but the actor spends all his free time with them. In his house in Bedford, he keeps a horse named Pecas, which helps his son, Griffin, feel better.
At the end of the 2000s, it seemed that the actor’s career had a chance to be revived. The filming of The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor started. The movie script revolved around Fraser’s character, his spouse, and their grown-up son. Since Fraser did all the stunts himself, he got a few serious injuries. He would have to put ice packs under his clothes to relieve his pain. He spent 7 years attending hospitals for operations, including a partial knee replacement, vocal cord repair work, and a lumbar laminectomy. It all led to his weight gain.
Even though the movie was a moderate commercial success, critics and viewers didn’t praise it as much as they did the first 2 parts. Rachel Weisz was replaced with another actress, the location was moved from Egypt to China, and the atmosphere was totally different, so viewers received something they didn’t expect. As a result, the fourth film was canceled, and the studio started working on a reboot, starring Tom Cruise.
A similar thing happened to another blockbuster that starred Fraser. The movie, Journey to the Center of the Earth, earned more than $200 million worldwide, and the producers wanted to make a sequel. But the film director was busy with another project, and Fraser said that he wanted to work only with him. As a result, the main role was given to Dwayne Johnson.
Since that time, Fraser has only acted in little-known TV series and low-budget movies, never in any leading roles.
When the actor was almost forgotten, the film director, Danny Boyle, noticed Fraser in a TV series and invited him to take part in his project, Trust. Then Steven Soderbergh invited the actor to act in his thriller, No Sudden Move.
Currently, the 52-year-old Brendan Fraser plans to participate in a few future premiers, including the Western crime drama, Killers of the Flower Moon. “I’m going to work with Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro. I’m a bit worried about that,” Fraser said in his recent interview on TikTok. And when the interviewer said that many people supported him, he paused and got touchingly shy.
The actor’s appearance, which shows that he has gained a lot of weight, has caused a lot of discussions on social media. “Brendan Fraser really let himself go after George of the Jungle,” a Twitter user wrote. But the reason for this is that Darren Aronofsky’s movie, The Whale, where Fraser has a lead role. According to the script, his character is a 600-pound man who tries to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter.
Nowadays, Brendan Fraser’s fans who have loved him since a young age, support the actor on social media and wish him all the best in his career.
Brendan Fraser’s efforts in filming Whale were not in vain. The audience was impressed with his performance and he won the Best Actor Oscar.