The cinema hall is filled with applause. “The Whale” just premiered at the Venice Film Festival, and now the director and cast are receiving their honors. But when lead actor Brendan Fraser woke up, somewhat reluctantly, something happened. Cheerfulness rises. “I did well!”
The main character nods and fiddles with her suit jacket. He looks a little annoyed. Is he crying? the audience asks. It’s been ten years since Fraser last starred in a movie, and even longer since he’s been a star that everyone knows about.
A few weeks later, the same thing happened again at another film festival, and then again. The tribute, which began in September in Venice, would be repeated throughout the fall. Fraser’s acting performance is described as exceptional, and there is talk of turning back the ages.
In November, he will be nominated for a Golden Globe. Then something unexpected happens. He told the media that participation in the Golden Globe Awards was out of the question. The Resistance is about the same secret that Brendan Fraser has carried around for many years, which is part of the explanation for why Brendan Fraser, 54, disappeared from the top shelf in Hollywood.
Himbo was born
Brendan Fraser’s early life was all over the place. With their Canadian parents and three siblings, they moved frequently around the United States and Europe. All this moving has made him very good at adapting and role-playing. He discovered theater in London, and a spark ignited.
He was actually going to study for a master’s degree in theatre, but the trip to Hollywood turned into a permanent residence. After several small roles, at the age of 23 he got the main role in the movie “School Ties” (1992). His name and face stood in front of future stars like Chris O’Donnell, Matt Damon, and Ben Affleck.
Fraser was tall, dark in complexion, and had strong jawbones. He had the look of a movie star, and was dubbed Himbo, a male version of Bimbo, after playing several slightly naive and scantily clad characters. Fraser also had an appearance and screen presence that was once compared to Marilyn Monroe.
As “George of the Jungle” (1997), he achieved his first major success, and Fraser is now a man that many people have noticed. But it was his next role that made him a star.
In 1999 came the action-adventure comedy “The Mummy,” in which Fraser played adventurer and ex-mercenary Rick O’Connell. The film received a lukewarm reception from critics, and the film company feared competition from both Star Wars and James Bond, but it was a hit, grossing over $400 million.
“At the turn of the millennium, it was a really interesting name,” says Police Police’s Berger Vestmo.
Sequels were popular even then, and Hollywood built on the success of “The Mummy.” It will cost Fraser too much.
From the top shelf to “Elling”
Fraser has been known as an actor who often goes the extra mile to make a scene “look cool”. In the first Mummy movie, things almost went wrong. His character was scheduled to be executed by hanging, but the dramatic scene did not go as planned. In short, the rope was so tight around Fraser’s neck that he fainted.
Other mummy movies were also action-packed and demanding, but after the third release in 2008, the body was enough. There were extensive surgeries on the back, knees, and vocal cords, and Fraser was in and out of the hospital for seven years.
The Mummy Train continued without him. He can no longer be the powerful hero who did his own stunts. But the problem was more than just the body. A bad divorce cracked the psyche. There was also another reason for Frasier’s disappearance from the limelight, but it wasn’t revealed until many years later.
He was still taking roles, but he was no longer on the top shelf in Hollywood. His name and face on the label are no longer a criterion for success. In 2010, he played in an American theatrical version of Ingvar Ambiornsen’s play “Elling”. But after just one week, the play was dropped from the Broadway bill due to poor ticket sales.
In the years since, he has mostly appeared in so many productions that few remember their name, or realize Fraser was involved.
15 year old secret
In 2018, Frasier was interviewed in connection with a new TV series. However, he had more on his mind. This was a few months after the #metoo explosion, and a number of actresses came forward with stories of sexual assault. Now Fraser was ready to tell his story.
During an event in 2003, a high-ranking member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the people behind the Golden Globe Awards, was said to have treated Fraser in an extremely inappropriate manner. Fraser reacted with panic and fear. He thought of submitting the story at that time, but he didn’t dare. He was afraid of the consequences for his career.
According to Fraser, his representatives demanded a written apology. The man is said to have then sent a letter to Fraser, but it contained no concessions.
According to Fraser, he was reportedly rarely invited to the Golden Globes after that.
– If this happened as he describes it, then his story shows the complexity of being a man and experiencing it, says NRK culture commentator Inger-Merete Hobbelstad.
In 2003, he was a “leading man,” who strongly associated himself with being desirable heterosexual, Hoopelstad explains.
– The world has moved on, but at that time, with this attitude, you had to be a man’s man. Any association with homosexual developments, even if highly undesirable, would have been difficult for an actor in this position to register.
In the interview from 2018, he said that it still affects him, 15 years later, and that the accident contributed to his disappearance from the limelight.
– Are you still afraid? at all. Do I feel obligated to speak up? at all. Have you wanted that many times? at all. Did I stop myself? He said sure.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association responded in 2018 that they had distanced themselves from such behavior and promised an investigation. However, the accused member had a different version, and the case had no consequences for him.
The interview in which he appeared recorded a record reading. People who wondered where Fraser became now have a more accurate version of what happened.
He received a lot of support, and his name appeared on social media under the hashtag #brenaissance. People wanted to revive Frasier on the top shelf in Hollywood, and now they’re cheering him on.
Bryn’s rebirth was underway, and soon it was really going to pick up speed.
Director Darren Aronofsky had previously emphasized letting the “old” stars shine again. Mickey Rourke had just shown the finger at Hollywood and was away from the screen when he had another run in the mines in the critically acclaimed “The Gladiator.” Now the esteemed director has thrown the island party on Brendan Fraser for his new movie project.
In 2020, Aronofsky had been looking for someone to star in “The Whale” for a long time and had almost given up, but then saw Frasier in a low-budget Brazilian movie.
– I knew he could play someone that people wrote off at first, but after five minutes they felt something about him, and after 20 minutes they were happy with the character. There’s just something about Brendan, Aronofsky explained to Variety.
Fraser was probably surprised when he received the offer. He was indeed a Hollywood star, but he was always the one giving the awards, not the one taking them. And now, Academy Award nominee Aronofsky will ask Fraser to take on one of his most challenging roles.
In the film, Frasier plays overweight Charlie. He lives alone and teaches students over Zoom, but without the camera (he blames it on a technical failure). Contact with the outside world is minimal, and he suffers from an eating disorder. When his health failed, he called his daughter, whom he left many years ago.
– The man I play here is the most heroic person I have ever played. Fraser has stated that his superpower is seeing the good in others.
“Brendan Fraser gives the role of his life,” one reviewer wrote.
NRK’s Birger Vestmo thinks Fraser’s effort in front of the camera is nothing short of phenomenal:
Perhaps it is because you remember him as a handsome action hero 20 years ago, which makes an added impression when you see him play a man in complete decline, both physically and mentally. We still occasionally see flashes of spark, humor and zest for life.”, he wrote in the review.
After a standing ovation at its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, Brennenssen went off to a similar reception throughout the fall. Many would likely see a serious movie award as the perfect comeback for Brendan Fraser, but then there was this one with the Golden Globes, then. There he was nominated for the best male lead role.
Thanks to the strained relationship he has with the HFPA and the Golden Globes, he won’t be attending. Many are sure that he will appear at the Oscars in March.
– A great acting performance that will be nominated for an Oscar, I’m sure of that, says Berger Vistemmo.
Hollywood is known to love a good comeback. History also shows that actors who have undergone a major transformation to become a character often go over the top when the Oscar statuettes are handed out. Charlize Theron (“The Beast”), Nicole Kidman (“The Watches”) and Robert De Niro (“Raging Bull”) are just a few examples.
The Golden Globe Awards take place on the night of January 11th, Norwegian time. The Oscar nominations will be announced on January 24.
In the absence of film awards, you can call Brenessansen full anyway. Fraser is back, and later this year he’ll appear in cinema legend Martin Scorsese’s new film, “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
Fraser himself isn’t very happy describing the comeback. The most important thing for him is recognition for the work he’s doing, no matter what path led him there.
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