Black Swan the long-awaited psychological drama from director Darren Aronofsky The whalestarring Branden Fraser, who hasn’t had a lead role since the direct-to-DVD thriller. Escape in 2013, just premiered at the 2022 Venice Film Festival. And it’s safe to say it was a hit, as the movie received a six-minute standing ovation, leading to the once-blacklisted actor to wipe away some tears in an emotional moment that he will never forget.
The whale‘s official synopsis reads: “A lonely English teacher suffering from severe obesity tries to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption” and saw Fraser undergo an intense physical transformation for the role. The Mummy The star and internet protégé also had to wear prosthetics to accentuate her character’s features in the film.
Many hoped that the film could be the one to launch a comeback of sorts for the 53-year-old, and so far, it certainly looks like it could do just that. Following its premiere, numerous journalists who attended the renowned festival said that an Oscar nomination could now be in the cards for Fraser.
What happened to Branden Fraser’s career?
While Gen Z reading this might know him from the countless internet rants celebrating the man and talking about the injustice of what happened to him, Fraser’s face is probably more familiar to slightly older millennials, more specifically.
He was the iconic American adventurer Rick O’Connell in The Mummy film franchise, and George in george of the jungle before. Fraser was one of the “hunks of Hollywood”, but not only, he knew how to act and was willing to take on more serious roles as well. In 1992 he starred with Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris O’Donnell in the drama school tiesas a Jewish scholarship quarterback fighting for his place at an elite anti-Semitic boarding school.
“If you watched movies at the turn of the last century, you watched Brendan Fraser,” he wrote. GQ. Yet somehow, in the late 2000s, the actor almost completely disappeared from our screens.
When I was filming the third installment of The Mummy, Tomb of the Dragon EmperorIn 2008, as the success of the movies began to wane, they also began to take a toll on the actor physically. “I was armed with duct tape and ice, just like a nerd and ice pack fetishist. Screw top ice packs and pads for mountain biking, because they are small and light and can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself every day,” Fraser told the publication in a 2018 interview.
The ice packs eventually had to be replaced due to multiple surgeries. A laminectomy, followed by another the following year, a partial knee replacement, more work done on her back: Fraser revealed that she was in and out of the hospital for the next seven years, no less.
But physical exhaustion wasn’t the only thing that hampered Fraser’s star quality.
The sexual assault of Brendan Fraser in 2003
Although rumors had been circulating before Fraser opened up to GQ, the story ended up getting lost in the mix of other speculation about the actor’s career slowing down. Some blamed some poor movie choices, while others mentioned his physical health. But according to Fraser himself, it was something that happened to him during the summer of 2003 that really changed everything.
Broadcasting the events in that same GQ interview mentioned above, Fraser mentioned attending a luncheon hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the organization that puts on the Golden Globes, at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. . As he left the hotel, Philip Berk, former president of the HFPA, greeted him.
In the middle of a room full of people, Berk walked over to shake Fraser’s hand. Then he pinched Fraser’s butt, at least according to Berk. But the actor said it was more than a pinch: “His left hand reaches out, grabs my buttock, and one of his fingers touches me on the stain. And he starts to move it.” At that moment, he was understandably overcome with panic and fear before he finally managed to remove Berk’s hand.
“I felt sick. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry,” Fraser shared with the publication before adding that as soon as she left the hotel, she told her then wife, Afton Fraser, what had happened. At the time, he thought about going public, but changed his mind for fear of repercussions.
Her representatives asked the HFPA for a written apology, which Fraser received despite Berk’s claim that he “didn’t admit to wrongdoing” her, and the organization also vowed never to allow Berk to be in a room with the actor again. plus. Regardless of this, Fraser had to deal with the trauma on his own: “I was blaming myself and feeling miserable, because I was like, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached out and touched it. That summer passed, and I can’t remember what I worked on next.”
After 2003, the actor noted that he was rarely invited to events in the film industry, let alone the Golden Globes. In addition to dealing with the trauma of what had happened to him, Fraser had to witness the entire scene Hollywood blacklisted him for something he was a victim of.
Following the 2018 reveal, Fraser’s harrowing story seemed to change the world’s perception of him. Online, a movement began to form in support of the actor, with countless netizens vowing to “protect him at all costs.” Which brings us to the return of him in The whale and his outstanding performance.
What to expect from ‘The Whale’
Fraser plays Charlie, a gay literature professor from Ohio who never leaves his dingy, messy apartment and keeps his camera off during his Zoom lectures. The reason for this shyness is that he has been depressed since the suicide of his mistress several years ago and has continued to eat to the point of morbid obesity.
In fact, his heart is failing because of it, leaving him with only a couple of days to live. And though his loyal caretaker Liz (played by Hong Chau) urges him to go to the hospital, all Charlie cares about is talking to Ellie (Sadie Sink), the 17-year-old daughter he hasn’t seen since he left her and his mother eight years earlier.
After it was announced that Bat girl— in which Fraser played the villain — was being scrapped by Warner Bros. Many feared this would be it for the actor’s career. But The whale could turn out to be the beginning of what we all hope will be the ‘Brenaissance’ that Fraser deserved from the start.