Back in the 1990s, Brendan Fraser was Hollywood’s go-to leading man, a muscled hunk who bagged roles in everything from George of The Jungle and Bedazzled to The Mummy Franchise. Despite Fraser’s long absence, the Venice Film Festival audience was delighted to have him back on the big screen after so many years.
The reason for Fraser’s gradual disappearance was the subject of a 2018 article titled ‘What Ever Happened to Brendan Fraser?‘ and, in it, the actor discusses the intense physical strain he endured at the height of his fame in the 2000s. “I believe I probably was trying too hard, in a way that’s destructive,” Fraser began
It’s almost as if was compensating for the fading popularity of the franchise by pushing his body harder and harder. Eventually, the damage started to show. “By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China,” he continued, “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.”
Things came to a head when he was sent off for multiple surgeries. “I needed a laminectomy,” Fraser recalled. “And the lumbar didn’t take, so they had to do it again a year later.”
Over the next seven years, Fraser was constantly in and out of the hospital. He received a partial knee replacement, had his spinal column bolted and compressed, and even had his vocal cords repaired. “I felt like the horse from Animal Farm, whose job it was to work and work and work,” Fraser said, acknowledging how saccharine he was coming across.
Concluding: “He worked for the good of the whole, he didn’t ask questions, he didn’t make trouble until it killed him.… I don’t know if I’ve been sent to the glue factory, but I’ve felt like I’ve had to rebuild shit that I’ve built that got knocked down and do it again for the good of everyone. Whether it hurts you or not.”