Brendan Fraser: from Hollywood ostracism to Oscar favorite



Brendan Fraser in ‘La ballena’ (The Whale), which hits Spanish theaters on January 24.

The star of ‘The Mummy’, who just received the Critics Choice Award, revives his career after overcoming a depression thanks to his role in ‘The Whale’, where he plays a morbidly obese 270 kilos

Oscar Belategui

Hollywood loves resurrections. And with the permission of Ke Huy Quan, the boy from ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’ and ‘The Goonies’, who after almost 40 years absent from the cinema wins awards with ‘Everything at once everywhere’, the actor who has revived after ostracism from the industry is Brendan Fraser, who to make matters worse undergoes a physical transformation in ‘The Whale’. At 54, the star of ‘George of the Jungle’ and ‘The Mummy’ is once again on everyone’s lips thanks to his role in Darren Aronofsky’s film, which opens in Spanish theaters on January 27 . Based on a play by Samuel D. Hunter, the film tells the story of a lonely, morbidly obese gay English teacher who tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter in one last chance for redemption.

Brendan Fraser with the Critics Choice Award for Best Actor. /


Eight minutes of applause at the last Venice Festival began the return to the covers of Fraser, who, although he does not remain in the physical shape with which we met him at the end of the 90s, did not have to gain weight until he reached 270 kilos at the character. According to production notes, the actor endured a 45-kilo suit and prosthetic makeup that transformed his face and his body and that took four hours to apply each session. Aronofksy, author of dramas such as ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Requiem for a Dream’, also used digital effects to achieve the striking appearance of the protagonist. The Oscar nomination, which will be known on January 24, is assured.


Spanish trailer for ‘La ballena’ (The Whale).

“I was lost in the desert. I probably should have left a trail of breadcrumbs, but you found me and, like all the best directors, you simply showed me where to go to get to where I needed to be, “Brendan Fraser thanked Aronofsky this past Sunday when collecting the award for Best Actor at the Critics Choice Awards. “It has taken me 32 years to get here. If you have the strength to stand up and go towards the light, good things will happen to you,” concluded an emotional Fraser, who did not leave a dry eye in the entire room. The protagonist of ‘The Impossible American’ was one of the few stars who did not attend the recent Golden Globes gala, where he was also nominated. “My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite,” argued Fraser, who, unlike the rest of Hollywood, refuses to forgive the controversial awards that are the cause of much of his trouble.

And it is that four years ago, Brendan Fraser publicly denounced that Philip Berk, the president of the Foreign Press Association in Hollywood that awards the Golden Globes, had sexually harassed him and that the organization had done nothing about it. It happened in 2003, when the actor was 34 years old and chained blockbusters like ‘Dudley from the Mountain’, ‘To hell with the devil’ and ‘The return of the mummy’. The 64-year-old South African journalist came up to greet him at the awards and, according to the actor, “he touched my perineum with his finger and started to move it.” Paralyzed with panic, Fraser managed to pull Berk’s hand away. “I felt sick, like a little child. I felt a lump in my throat. I thought I was going to cry. I ran out, went home and told my wife what had happened. It felt like invisible paint had been poured over me.” The association apologized. Berk said it was just a joke, but the interpreter fell into a deep depression that affected his career. «I repeated to myself: ‘It was nothing, a guy has put a hand on you, nothing more’. But I don’t even remember the next job I did.”

Shooting Injuries

Born in Indianapolis in 1968, Fraser is the son of Canadian parents, a sales executive and a journalist who worked for the foreign service of the Canadian national office of Tourism. He had a nomadic childhood and lived in the Netherlands, Switzerland and Canada. His physical attractiveness – he measures 1.91 – he knew how to take advantage of in the first comedy that put him on the map in 1992, ‘The man from California’, where he played a nice Cro-Magnon revived today by two high school students . Five years later, ‘George of the Jungle’ was a variation on the goofy but handsome character. Shortly after, in the fabulous ‘Gods and Monsters’, he showed that, in addition to being comic, he had dramatic talent as the gardener object of desire for director James Whale in Hollywood in the 1930s. When ‘People’ magazine named him in 1998 one of the 50 most attractive people on the planet has not yet released ‘The Mummy’, for whose sequel he earned 12.5 million dollars.

Brendan Fraser and Leslie Mann in ‘George of the Jungle’ (1997).

A look at his filmography reveals that Brendan Fraser has never stopped working. After his depression we find series like ‘Scrubs’, ‘King of the Hill’ and ‘The Affair’, as well as video games and cartoons in which he has given the voice. The actor lived through a complicated divorce from actress Afton Smith, with whom he has three children. In early 2013, Fraser petitioned the courts for a reduction in his alimony and child support payments, stating that he could not meet the annual obligation of nearly a million dollars. His salary was not enough. Smith accused him of hiding financial assets. He, too, has suffered from injuries on set, which have forced him to undergo multiple operations over the years. The American media have even coined a term to define the actor’s resurrection, ‘Brenaissance’ (Brenaissance). After ‘The Whale’, he will participate alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’, by Martin Scorsese.


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