Keith: Inside the return of Brendan Fraser after years of pain and neglect

It may not be over until the fat lady sings, but for Brendan Fraser, playing a 600-pound man is a whole new beginning.

When the film premiered on September 4 at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, the audience was so moved that they gave Fraser a six-minute standing ovation and brought the actor to tears. wrote New York Post.

He was reported to have tried to leave the theatre, but the applause was so relentless that it seemed to physically freeze him in place.

Such adoration was a far cry from Fraser’s last years of obscurity, when he lived quietly on his horse farm in New Bedford, New York.

He suffered excruciating pain and underwent several surgeries as a result of action movie stunts such as the Mummy franchise, which made him famous and, he said, put him in and out of the hospital for seven years.

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Fraser stated in 2018 that he was sexually assaulted in 2003 by Philip Burke, then head of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Burke called Fraser’s “version” of the story a “complete fabrication”.

The star told GQ that it made him withdraw from the spotlight: “I got depressed,” he said. “I blamed myself and I was miserable.”

It even made him wonder if he was blacklisted by the HFPA, which oversees the Golden Globes. GQ In later years, he was rarely invited to the award ceremony. The group said it was not aware of the allegations until GQ story, while Burke’s response was scathing: “His career went downhill through no fault of ours.”

Burke was later expelled from the HFPA after he sent an email calling the Black Lives Matter movement “racist”.

While Fraser continued to make films – mostly ones you’ve probably never heard of, like hair as well as furry revenge – and TV (including A business in 2016-2017), it was a far cry from his glory days in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

But his new role in WHALEOscar nominee director Darren AronofskyBlack Swan, Wrestler) should bring it back to the front. Critics praised Fraser’s bravura portrayal of Charlie, an obese, wheelchair-bound recluse struggling to reconnect with his estranged daughter.

“This is a great example of someone willing to play outside of their comfort zone after they’ve all but disappeared. It was not the role that made him famous, but he is no longer a tough athlete, ”said a Hollywood insider. New York Postreferring to films such as 1997. George of the jungle, for which the very fat Frazier wore little more than a loincloth. “He has shown that he can adapt to age and a changing world.”

The actor also received respect from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who made his big screen debut in 2001. The Mummy Returns along with Frazier. “Dude,” he tweeted, “so happy to see this lovely standing ovation for Brendan.”

Fraser’s recent accolades bring a smile to the face of Denise Tyrell, author of the book Brendan Fraserunauthorized biography published in 2001.

“I always thought he had chops,” said Tyrell, now co-founder of theater company Too Soon Old Productions. New York Post. “He was into goofy comedies, but I really liked his more serious work,” for example, Gods and monstersin which Fraser played a handsome heterosexual gardener who was awkwardly fawned over by a gay filmmaker in 1920s England.

“Now his days of being a romantic lead man and jumping around mummies are over – and maybe it’s all for the best,” Tyrell added. “As evidenced by WHALEit’s time for Brendan Fraser to step in and do some serious work.”

The son of a Canadian Foreign Service officer, Fraser lived an itinerant childhood, traveling the world with his family and attending a number of preparatory schools. Once he received a serious hazing.

“I was pulled out of bed when I was 13 and thrown into the trunk of a car and then tied to play equipment with a pillowcase over my head. They ripped off my pajama top and tried to rip off the bottom, but I kicked some guy in the head,” he told Movieline magazine in 1999.

“They threw firecrackers at me. Horrible. The car took off and I realized that I was connected [outside of] local girls’ school. When I got free, I ran back to the dorm and, oh nice guys, they gave me a home tie. They made me.”

He received his first film in 1991 – a small role in Air battle, which starred River Phoenix. From there he rose to star in a silly but successful Encino Mainedemonstrated his acting skills as a Jewish athlete at a prep school in school tiesand flew to box office fame with George of the jungle. His portrayal of a man raised by apes brought about $180 million at the box office.

His reputation was such that when he showed off his skills with Ian McKellan in Gods and monstersin 1998, Stephen Baldwin jokingly referred to him as “Thespist and a blockhead”.

If Baldwin was jealous at the time, there was good reason for that – Fraser enjoyed the success in Tinseltown that had eluded him. The fans were so obsessed that they followed Tyrell when her book came out (“They hoped I could introduce them to Brendan”) and he was dating his George co-star, Afton Smith.

His career was on an upward trajectory, and he joked that he and Smith were “more passionate about the process of creating children together than the result.” However, after six years of dating, they married in 1998 and had three children.

The next logical step for the rising star was a movie franchise that spun off from Mommywhich came out in 1999. Frazier played a second-rate Indiana Jones type, but there was nothing second-rate about the return of the films. In total, they raised $416.4 million.

But the films also physically ruined Fraser and, indirectly, led to the collapse of his career. To the third entry in the series, Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperorin 2008, the star told GQ, he was “glued together with electrical tape and ice.” He recalled that he “was really a fetish and a bore for ice packs … I built myself an exoskeleton every day.”

But it only helped ease the pain. “I needed a laminectomy. And lumbar [surgery] they didn’t take it, so they had to do it a year later,” he said. GQ. Additional surgical work was done on his knee, spine, and even his vocal cords.

Around 2015, he began a slow reinvention by playing a 19th century Texas Ranger on the History Channel series. texas climb.

It was in the series that Frazier fell deeply in love with a horse named Pecas, deciding to bring the animal home from a set in Mexico and leave it on a farm near his home. There, the actor fell in love with how Pecas bonded with his son Griffin, now 19 and on the autism spectrum.

“Something good is going on between them,” Frazier said. “Even [Griffin] doesn’t ride it. Just give him a brush. Horses love it, the repetitive movements that kids on the spectrum have that they love. And it just works…”

Although Frazier and Smith divorced in 2008, they remained close while raising their boys. “We’re best friends,” Smith said. New York Post.

Aronofsky said he spent 10 years looking for someone to wear the 60-pound fat suit required for the lead role. WHALE. But then he accidentally saw the trailer for Journey to the edge of the nighta 2006 B-level violent crime film starring Fraser.

As Aronofsky said at a press conference in Venice, “I asked Brendan to meet me… It just kept clicking.”

The same can be said for Fraser’s career these days. Though he was unfortunate enough to star in a delayed Bat Girl there are high hopes for his role as a lawyer in Martin Scorsese’s western, Flower Moon Assassinsslated for release in 2023.

As for how things go on for him. Fraser sounded optimistic in Venice. “My crystal ball is broken,” he said at a press conference. “I don’t know if yours works. But we’ll meet after the show and we’ll take a look together.”

This article was originally published in the New York Post and reproduced here with permission.

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