Brendan Fraser, An Actor Who Rises From The Ashes

After winning the 2023 Critics Choice Award for Best Actor, Brendan Fraser has taken a new lease of life on his acting career. Will this resurgence be enough to fight for an Oscar award?

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LatinAmerican Post | Theoscar Mogollón González

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Leer en español: Brendan Fraser, un actor que resurge de las cenizas

Whether in action or comedy movies, one of the most popular actors in the 1990s who was poised for big things was Brendan Fraser. However, a series of unfortunate events caused his shine to fade little by little, to the point of almost disappearing from Hollywood's radar. Now, his life has taken a turn for the better, and after winning the Critics Choice Award and being nominated for the Best Actor Oscar, his acting career has resurfaced remarkably.

Hits of a popular face

Fraser graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in 1990 and almost immediately began his career in film and television. His first appearance on the big screen was with "Dogfight" (1991). However, it was three years later that he would get his first important roles with "With Honors", along with Joe Pesci; "Airheads," in which he co-starred with Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi; and "The Scout", which was his first major salary in Hollywood: 1.5 million dollars.

Over the years his face became more and more common in comedy, drama, and romance films. Another of his most memorable hits was "George of The Jungle" (1997), based on a cartoon that parodies Tarzan, whose character was raised by animals in an African jungle. In the end, the box office numbers made this film a phenomenon of the time after raising just over 174 million dollars from a budget of 55 million.

In 1999 a character came to him that would further elevate his status as a movie star: Rick O'Connell. And it is that with "The Mummy" he ventured into action films, a genre that he was good at although it caused serious consequences later on. The great reception of the first installment served to release "The Mummy Returns" in 2001, which to date is the highest-grossing film in its filmography (433 million dollars according to Box Office Mojo). However, the trilogy closed in 2008 with lower figures than the tape of the nineties.

Amid those successes, he also participated in other highly relevant titles. "Bedazzled" (2000) was a fantasy romantic comedy in which he co-starred with Elizabeth Hurley, who played a female version of the devil. "Crash" was an Oscar-winning drama for Best Picture that tells the intertwined story of several people. "Journey to the Center of the Earth" was an action-fantasy film that grossed more than $200 million at the box office and spawned a sequel it was not a part of.

In turn, Fraser jumped at the opportunity to work for television. Although he did not enjoy as much notoriety as in the movies, it is worth noting his appearances in series such as "Scrubs", "Texas Rising", "Trust" and "The Affair". Also, his biggest character so far has been Robotman in "Doom Patrol", HBO's action series based on the DC Comics comics.

Also read: The 7 most nominated films for the Oscars, how to see them?

the precipitous decline

With the string of successes, everything seemed to indicate that Brendan Fraser was becoming one of the most important actors in Hollywood. However, the physical problems quickly increased and that cut short a large part of his artistic rise. As he recounted in an interview for GQ in 2018, the chronic pain he suffered from his stunts in action movies forced him to take a break.

“When I was shooting the third 'The Mummy' movie in China (in 2008), I was taped, screw-top ice packs and mountain biking pads because they are small and light and fit under your clothes. I built myself an exoskeleton every day," the actor commented on the demanding action scenes he had to go through. In the end, Fraser spent approximately seven years in hospitals for multiple operations on his injuries, from partial knee replacement to back interventions.

But that was not the most serious thing in his career. During the said interview he also revealed an incident, in 2003, that hit him mentally. While attending an event at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Philip Berk, abused him by grabbing his buttocks and crotch, a situation that caused him a deep panic that made him feel "like a little kid."

As expected, Berk denied everything and only limited himself to saying that it was a joking pinch. To all these, the actor's agents did not make the case public and demanded a written apology from the HFPA. For Fraser, such an incident could have been one of the reasons why his acting career declined, since the silence around that environment was deafening.

Added to this were the death of her mother, her divorce from Afton Smith, and the poor choice of film projects. In this way, Fraser entered a state of depression that made him stay away from the spotlight with sporadic and insignificant roles.

A resurgence in style

The actor returned in style after a performance that puts him back on the Hollywood map and outlines him as a serious candidate to win the Oscar in 2023. His on-screen talent shows that he still has a lot to contribute to the film industry.

The director Darren Aronofsky chose him to be the protagonist of "The Whale", a film that follows the story of a professor who, dejected by a significant loss, chooses to eat without control to try to mitigate the pain and grief that consumes him.

"If you suffer in any way from obesity, or just feel like you're in a dark sea, I want you to know that if you too can have the strength to get up and go towards the light, good things will happen to you," Fraser said after winning. the Critics Choice Award. His emotional speech and the subsequent ovation of the public show a great resurgence that will take him once again to the pinnacle of success. More than deserved!

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