Brendan Fraser came on the scene in 1992 with two movies that couldn’t have been any more different: Encino Man and School Ties. The films set up an eclectic filmography that was filled with highs (The Mummy) and lows (George of The Jungle), as well as some high quality, but often overlooked films like 1998’s Gods and Monsters co-starring Sir Ian McKellen and written and directed by Beauty and The Beast’s Bill Condon.
In recent years, Fraser has continued to work, but his name has all but disappeared from entertainment news. Most people have no idea that he was just in cable series, ‘The Affair’, or that he’s set to lead ‘Trust’, the TV adaption of the J Paul Getty story that was recently told in the controversial (thanks Kevin Spacey) film, ‘All The Money In the World.’
So, the question that a lot of people are asking is, what happened? We’ve seen so little of the actor of the years that it’s almost like he was sucked into the Monkeybone world. As it turns out, the truth is a pretty rough story, and it is the focus of a new article on Fraser in the new issue of GQ.
A big part of the problem for the actor was that, in his desire to please directors and producers, Fraser essentially turned himself into a punching bag on set. AS he recalls in the interview, it led to point where he was pretty much more ice pack than man. The result was several years of surgeries and rehab.
“I was put together with tape and ice—just, like, really nerdy and fetishy about ice packs. Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads, ’cause they’re small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily.” Eventually all these injuries required multiple surgeries: “I needed a laminectomy. And the lumbar didn’t take, so they had to do it again a year later.” There was a partial knee replacement. Some more work on his back, bolting various compressed spinal pads together. At one point he needed to have his vocal cords repaired. All told, Fraser says, he was in and out of hospitals for almost seven years.
Things took a significant turn for Fraser when he was allegedly the victim of sexual assault at the hands of Philip Berk, a former president of the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association). The incident sent him into a deep depression and caused him to retreat from several aspects of his life. The result was him acting less, getting out of shape, and even ending up with the break up of his marriage.
It’s a sobering but pretty amazing story that’s worth reading if you’ve got a few minutes. The good news is that Brendan Fraser is back and he seems wiser for all the things he’s been through. Here’s hoping that the second act of his career is as fulfilling as it will hopefully be successful.