One of the biggest names in Hollywood during the ’90s and 2000s was Brendan Fraser. However, after his career peaked, he seemed to have disappeared completely from the public eye. And when he did return, he was not himself.
However, Fraser has recently opened up, revealing a string of unfortunate, traumatizing, and painful events that had happened to him over the years – and why it almost ended his career.
Chances are, if you were watching movies in the ’90s and 2000s, you were familiar with actor Brendan Fraser. At the time, he was one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars, known for his roles in films like George of the Jungle, Bedazzled, Crash, and The Mummy trilogy.
His lovable charm and chiseled physique made him a force to be reckoned with in the industry. At the peak of his career, it was as if his name and face were plastered on every movie poster – everyone knew who he was. However, as time went on, we started to see less and less of Fraser – leaving most of his fans wondering what had ever happened to him.
In 2004, Fraser gained particular acclaim for his role as District Attorney Rick in the star-studded Academy Award-winning film, Crash. While the part didn’t get him an Oscar, he did receive both a Screen Actors Guild Award and Critic’s Choice Movie Award as part of the movie’s incredible ensemble.
The future was definitely looking bright for Fraser, and everyone awaited what his next big movie would be. However, instead of rising up and taking on more serious roles like was expected, he started to disappear from the industry all together. After his award-winning performance in Crash, he slowly began to fade away from Hollywood. People were starting to get worried.
Making a comeback
After a two-year hiatus from acting, Fraser surprised everyone and made a comeback. In 2006, he starred in the thriller-drama, Journey to the End of the Night. Unfortunately, he received mediocre reviews from critics, and it was in no way the sort of return his fans were hoping for. The star continued to appear in movies such as romantic-drama The Last Time and crime-thriller The Air I Breathe.
Unfortunately, none of the films gained the star much positive acclaim, each one receiving even poorer critiques than the last. During this time, people were starting to notice that something had changed with the once outgoing, happy-go-lucky actor. Something just seemed off.
Although he was still appearing in movie roles here and there, he wasn’t nearly as active as he once was. Not only that, when he did make public appearances, he seemed like an entirely different person. He had lost his “glow” and his eyes seemed not as bright, and not as wide. He basically looked very, well, sad.
Unfortunately, not before long, the media started to get involved – calling the actor “unrecognizable” and slamming him for his different appearance, in particular, his more rounded body. He had lost his muscular physique that he was known for, and the tabloids were eating it up. Everyone assumed that the “has-been” actor had hit the end of the road. But was this true?
In 2016, Fraser finally returned to the public eye to do his first interview in years. During the AOL BUILD interview the actor spoke about his upcoming TV show, The Affair. While fans were thrilled that the star was going to be on-screen again, and this time in a television series, Fraser seemed less enthusiastic to say the least.
The once charismatic celeb didn’t only look uncomfortable while quietly answering the interviewer’s questions about his upcoming show, it also seemed like he was faking smiles and holding back tears. Unfortunately, this made the media, and his fans, believe that the once charismatic and adorable Fraser that everyone had come to know and love was now gone for good.
So what was really going on with Fraser? It turns out, the movie star wasn’t just having a bad day, he was having some extremely tough years. First of all, he was still in pain after his 2008 divorce with his wife of 10 years, and mother of his three children, Afton Smith.
After the couple’s split, the tabloids continued to cover the messy breakup as rumors spread that the actor was hiding his earnings in order to reduce his monthly alimony payments – which were at the time $50,000.
However, Fraser wasn’t only heartbroken from the divorce – he had also lost his beloved mother from cancer. It happened just days prior to his AOL BUILD appearance – explaining his unusual behavior.
In a February 2018, the star finally opened up to GQ about what was really going on through his head at the time of the infamous interview two years prior. “I buried my mom,” he explained. “I think I was in mourning, and I didn’t know what that meant.”
A toll on his body
Not only was Fraser mourning both his marriage and the death of his mom – he was also struggling physically. In the GQ interview, the actor spoke about the pressure he had put on himself to maintain his well-known “hunky” bod.
He started doing intense and unhealthy workouts in order to keep up with his physically-demanding roles, often doing his own stunts. He said, “I believe I probably was trying too hard, in a way that’s destructive.”
Fraser opened up about how he tried to keep himself together, even when in pain. He said, “By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China,” in 2008, “I was put together with tape and ice—just, like, really nerdy about ice packs.
Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads, ’cause they’re small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily.” He claimed that he felt like “the horse from Animal Farm, whose job was to work and work and work.”
Unfortunately, Fraser could only keep himself together for so long until he eventually fell apart. All of the physical strain that he had put on himself led to several injuries.
He had several surgeries such as a vertebrae removal surgery, a replacement of his knee, and a procedure where he had to have his spinal pads bolted together. Not only that, he also had to repair damage that was done on his voice. It took seven years of frequent hospital visits until he was finally back in good health.
Fraser’s frequent trips to the hospital meant that he had less time to work as an actor. His career took a dramatic plunge after 2010, and he took mostly small minor roles in mediocre films and guest appearances on television series whenever he had a chance.
A real punch in the gut however, was when the announcement was made in 2017 that The Mummy would be getting a reboot – but didn’t cast Fraser in it. However, this wasn’t the worst of it, there was actually a lot more going on.
Revealing a secret
During his interview with GQ, Fraser opened revealed a secret that he had been keeping to himself for 15 years. He said that back in 2003, he was assaulted by former Hollywood Foreign Press Association President, Philip Berk.
He described the traumatizing incident, explaining that it had happened while attending a get together one summer which was held by the HFPA which also hosts the Golden Globes. When Fraser went to shake Berk’s hand, Berk reached behind him and inappropriately touched the actor’s rear.
Fraser went into detail about how traumatizing the event was. “I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry,” he explained.
When asked why he didn’t go public sooner, he said, “I didn’t want to contend with how that made me feel, or it becoming part of my narrative.” While he did eventually receive a an apology in writing by Berk, the former HFPA president called Fraser’s story of events “total fabrication.”
Fraser revealed yet another time he was a victim of inappropriate behavior with a Hollywood executive. In 2006, the star was considered for Superman in a new movie directed by Brett Ratner.
The director had Fraser over his house one day to talk about the role, and instead had the actor take pictures of himself in a photo booth. In the end, Ratner never directed a Superman movie and Fraser never got to play Superman. He was heartbroken claiming he “didn’t measure up” and had “failed” as an actor.
A brighter future
After years of painful heartache and sorrow, it seems as if Fraser is finally returning to his old self. Not only has he been making more public appearances, he also has returned to acting.
He is currently starring in two successful series, FX anthology-drama Trust, and AT&T Audience Network’s political-thriller Condor. The actor is now trying to look on the bright side of things. He explained, “Something good came out of something that was bad. Sometimes it takes a while for that to happen.”
Onto new things
Aside from some of Brendan’s other recent works, he also has a leading role of a highly rated DC Universe action comedy series Doom Patrol. Fraser plays Cliff Steele, also known as Robotman.
Doom Patrol centers around a mad scientist who is accompanied by his group of outcasts, who just so happen to have super powers. The series first aired in February, 2019 and has proven successful amongst viewers and critics. This show also really proved to be a huge comeback for Fraser.
While Brendan Fraser has had some steady work since he started his comeback, he also has some works in production that are expected to be released in the coming year.
By the time 2019 is over, people can expect to see at least two new releases with Fraser in them. These include a thriller film The Poison Rose – alongside John Travolta and Morgan Freeman – and a crime drama Line of Decent. In addition, Fraser is working on a romance film Behind the Curtain of Night, but release info is currently unavailable.
While it is clear that Brendan is working on expanding his career and that he is trying to get back to the huge star he used to be, this will obviously take time.
As Fraser builds everything back up, he is trying new things and broadening his audience – hence why he changed things up by staring in a History miniseries called Texas Rising in 2015. His carer is in recovery, but he seems to be on the right track to getting everything back to where it should be.
“I’m still here”
One thing that is important for everyone to know is that Brendan didn’t go anywhere and isn’t planning on going anywhere. He wants his fans – and maybe even his haters – to know that he is still here.
Fraser never left Hollywood; he just took some time to himself as he was dealing with tremendous loss, personal issues, his health, and more. The actor has certainly proven that he is here to stay and we can all expect great things for his future.
Some publications have had a lot of fun covering Fraser’s return to Hollywood. GC did a profile on the actor in 2018 to publish all about his comeback. Of course, people have been creating memes because that’s just how the world rolls these days.
The best, however, may just be what TV Guide called this new phase of Brandan’s career Brenaissance, a play on words with the word Renaissance. All we have to say is that this revival is certainly one we can get behind and can’t wait to see what’s next for Brendan Fraser.