The mid-90s, completely hot Brendan Fraser with flowing hair that we all loved in classic blockbusters like George of the Jungle and The Mummy is gone forever — at least physically. But the pure-hearted, humble, and extremely talented Brendan Fraser remains.
And now, after years of personal struggle and turmoil, it seems like the 53-year-old actor is finally getting his due from both critics and fans.
Last week, at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, Fraser got a six-minute standing ovation for his performance in The Whale, an upcoming movie by director Darren Aronofsky (Requiem For A Dream, Black Swan) — and it was completely moving to see him get recognized for both his hard work and his struggle.
Seriously, try to watch this without tearing up.
In recent years, the guy has battled severe depression, sexual assault, chronic pain, divorce, money problems, and a Hollywood blackballing — not to mention ongoing comments about how he looked in 1997 compared to how he looks now (anyone commenting on his change in appearance should be legally required to also post a picture of themselves in both 1997 and 2022).
But both long-time followers, fans, and colleagues are rallying around him and his new film, which is his first leading role since the straight-to-DVD thriller Breakout (and yes, there is a good reason you don’t remember this film at all).
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson tweeted about his own feelings about the #Brenaissance.
“Man this makes me so happy to see this beautiful ovation for Brendan,” he wrote. “He supported me coming into his Mummy Returns franchise for my first ever role, which kicked off my Hollywood career. Rooting for all your success brother...”
Other less-famous fans chimed in, too.
Also — he is still hot, just in a different way, people.
And he was all smiles when he arrived home from the festival.
Fraiser told Vanity Fair earlier this year what his new film, The Whale, meant to him and his career.
"If there's no risk, then why bother?" he said. "I want to learn from the people I'm working with at this point in my career. I've had such variety, a lot of high highs and low lows, so what I'm keen for, in the second half of my time doing this, is to feel like I'm contributing to the craft, and I'm learning from it. This is a prime opportunity. I wanted to disappear into it. My hope was that I would become unrecognizable.”
The movie centers on a 600-pound gay man who is trying to reconcile with his estranged daughter while coming to terms with his obesity. It opens in December.
This is a huge turnaround for Fraser, who was last trending online for not being as hot as he used to be and letting himself go.
In 2019, the internet went absolutely nuts when a picture of Brendan Fraser surfaced. Tumblr user femburton posted side-by-side images of the actor. On the left is shirtless, airbrushed Fraser from a zillion years ago; on the right is a sweatered and unrehearsed Fraser waking down a street more recently. Underneath the pic, smarmy femburton wrote: “I think about this a lot.”
While some people piled on in a horrible way, more people come to Fraser’s defense. Specifically, a few posters alluded to the turmoil in Fraser’s life, which explains why he seems to have faded into the background in the post-Mummy years.
For example, Fraser TikTok defender unknownlegitflip rapid-fires the tragic lowlights in 59 seconds: sexual assault; blackballed as a result; spiraling depression; multiple surgeries to repair stunt work injuries; an exorbitant divorce settlement; the loss of his mother.
You can listen to the under-a-minute summary—or you can hear the story from Fraser himself. In Zach Baron’s 2018 article for GQ, Fraser takes the wheel and untangles the mystery surrounding his legendary exodus from the world of blockbusters. And it ain’t pretty.
Fraser admits that his “crumbling body” certainly contributed to his hiatus. By 2008, Fraser says, “I was put together with tape and ice — I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily.” Fraser details, for the first time publicly, the 2003 sexual assault by the then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Philip Berk insists that he only pinched Fraser. But the actor tells a different story, where Berk “reaches around, grabs my ass cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.”
At that moment, Fraser was overcome with fear and panic, which manifested in a dark depression. He recounts, “I was blaming myself and I was miserable—because I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel.’ That summer wore on—and I can’t remember what I went on to work on next.”
To talk about a sexual assault as a male, and in relation to a prominent person in Hollywood, takes a huge amount of guts. And to survive it takes even more.
And he not only survived. He’s back. It’s not that Fraser hasn’t worked at all; it’s just that he’s been sort of hidden behind a scrim. But now? He’s on the forefront.
And the internet, once again, is going insane. This time though, it’s not so much to defend and protect Fraser — it’s to praise him.
In a viral TikTok video, a fan on the virtual meet-and-greet assured Fraser that his fans had never gone anywhere: “There are so many people out there who love you and we’re rooting for you and we can’t wait to see what you do next.”
Fraser’s response to all this? He actually gets choked up for a sec and responds with only a simple “Shucks, ma’am.”
To quote Twitter’s sage Maggie Mae Fish, “It’s Brendan Fraser’s world and we are simply members of his congregation.”
And if you think The Whale is the apex — you might be wrong. Fraser also has a sweet part in Martin Scorsese’s new film Flowers Of The Killer Moon, and that one should be huge for him, too. Welcome back to winning, Brendan. But we’re on your side either way.
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