Brendan Fraser may be making a comeback with his Oscar-contender performance in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, but The Mummy star insists that despite how it might seem, he was “never that far away” from being one of Hollywood’s leading men.
Fraser did take a little more than a decade off from that particular pastime. Instead, he was doing some smaller movies and a lot of TV, including The Affair, Doom Patrol, and Professionals. Clearly, he’s never stepped away from acting.
But he has stepped away, at least geographically, from Hollywood. Since Fraser stopped appearing in marquee titles like The Mummy, George of the Jungle, and Journey at the Center of the Earth, he’s been living in upstate New York and spending more time with his family.
“Presently, Hollywood may be back in play, but I know that the time I needed to take for personal reasons and for family reasons was all time well spent,” he told Variety in a new cover story. “And the industry changed a great deal from the time I stepped back in 2009 or 2010. It kind of went from analog to digital, so I had to adjust to that.”
“I’ve always done something every year,” he added. “No matter what it was, I never thought about giving it up. I’m an actor. I don’t know what else I would do.”
In The Whale — a film based on the play by Samuel D. Hunter, who adapted it for the screen as well — Fraser plays Charlie, a 600-lb. queer English teacher who tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter (Sadie Sink) as his health worsens.
The result is a heavy, transformational role that has rocketed him from awards presenter to awards contender. It’s also gotten him multiple standing ovations at film festivals — but don’t compare his comeback to Mickey Rourke’s in Aronofsky’s The Wrestler.
“With Mickey, there was a lot of negative energy around him because of the middle finger that he gave to the industry,” Aronofsky said. “Brendan was beloved, but he just didn’t have that opportunity to show all these sides. It’s about getting the right role in the right moment as an actor.”
Though mainstream audiences may have lost track of him for a while, that doesn’t mean Fraser went anywhere.
“I was never that far away,” he says. “You can’t get rid of me that easy.”
Main Image: April 25, 2018: The Whale star Brendan Fraser attends the Brooks Brothers Bicentennial Celebration at Jazz At Lincoln Center, Manhattan. Photo credit: Shutterstock.