Brendan Fraser was one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood in the ’90s and ’00s, starring in films like George of the Jungle, Gods & Monsters, Blast from the Past, and The Mummy franchise. However, as the years went on, his career started to slow down considerably. Many fans were left wondering where the movie star’s career went.
In an interview with GQ in 2018, Fraser revealed that he had been sexually harassed by Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk. The alleged incident occurred at a 2003 luncheon in the Beverly Hills Hotel. On his way out, he met Berk, whose organization votes on the Golden Globes. Berk reached out to shake The Mummy actor’s hand. He then used his other hand to touch Frasier’s buttocks. “His left hand reaches around, grabs my a– cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around,” Fraser recalled.
Fraser removed Berk’s hand, but felt “ill” and was about to cry. He rushed out of the room. The only person he told at the time was his then-wife, Afton. The actor said he thought about going public, but ultimately did not. His representatives did seek a written apology from Berk and the HFPA. Beck mentioned the incident in his 2014 memoir, but said he only touched Frasier’s backside “in jest.” Beck called Fraser’s version of events a “total fabrication” and admitted he wrote the letter, but told GQ he did not admit any wrongdoing. “My apology admitted no wrongdoing, the usual ‘If I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended and I apologize,'” Beck told the magazine.
Fraser said the HFPA agreed to make sure Beck would never be in the same room as him again. Still, the incident changed him. “I became depressed,” Fraser said. “I was blaming myself and I was miserable — because I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel.’ That summer wore on — and I can’t remember what I went on to work on next.” Although Fraser made more movies after that incident, he said “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.” He wondered if the HFPA blacklisted, and said he was rarely invited back to the Golden Globes. After the incident, work “withered on the vine for me. In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me,” he said.
“Am I still frightened? Absolutely. Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely. Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely,” Fraser told GQ. “And maybe I am over-reacting in terms of what the instance was. I just know what my truth is. And it’s what I just spoke to you.”
Fraser was known as an action hero, and years of doing intense and dangerous stunts took a serious toll on his body. “I believe I probably was trying too hard, in a way that’s destructive,” Fraser said in his GQ interview. “By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China [in 2008] 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.”
These injuries led to multiple back surgeries, including a laminectomy, a procedure that helps relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Over the next several years, Fraser underwent a partial knee replacement, more back surgeries to bolt compressed spinal pads together, and vocal cord repair. “This is gonna really probably be a little saccharine for you,” Fraser explained. “But I felt like the horse from Animal Farm, whose job it was to work and work and work. Orwell wrote a character who was, I think, the proletariat. 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 s— that I’ve built that got knocked down and do it again for the good of everyone. Whether it hurts you or not.”
All these health issues, turmoil in his personal life, and his issues with Hollywood blacklisting really caused the former A-lister to retreat from the spotlight. “Going to work — in between being in and out of those hospitals, that wasn’t always possible. So what I’m saying to you sounds, I hope, not like some sort of ‘Hey, I had a boo-boo. I needed to put a Band-Aid on it,’ but more of an account of the reality of what I was walking around in,” Fraser explained.
“I changed houses; I went through a divorce [from former wife Afton Smith]. Some kids were born. I mean, they were born, but they’re growing up. I was going through things that mold and shape you in ways that you’re not ready for until you go through them.”
Despite the changes in his career, his fans stuck with him. The Mummy franchise, in particular the first installment, has had a lasting fandom. Between the fun special effects and the palpable chemistry between Fraser and his co-star Rachel Weisz, the film was consistently going viral on Twitter just because people would talk about how much they still loved it after over 20 years.
Fraser began to work more consistently, getting dramatic roles on television shows like Trust and The Affair. He also struck fandom gold by taking on the role of Cliff Steele on HBO Max’s Doom Patrol. After working quietly for years in television, Fraser also seems poised to make a major film comeback.
Fraser has recently lined up a number of high profile roles that are sure to get him acclaim. After a small but scene-stealing role in Steve Soderberg’s latest, No Sudden Move, Fraser recently wrapped film as the star of acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky’s latest film, The Whale. Deadline reports that Fraser has been added to another highly anticipated film project, this time from director Martin Scorsese.
Deadline reports that Fraser has joined Killers of the Flower Moon alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Jesse Plemmons. Killers of the Flower Moon will cover the “Reign of Terror,” a horrific string of murders of members of the Osage Nation in 1920s Oklahoma, and the investigation that led to the modern FBI. Fraser will be playing lawyer W.S. Hamilton.
Earlier this week, an interview that Fraser did with TikTok user LittleLottieCosplay, went massively viral. Fraser was discussing his upcoming role in Killers of the Flower Moon. Fraser explained that he is currently in Oklahoma preparing for filming.
At one point, the 52-year-old actor expressed that he was a bit nervous to be working with such powerhouse Hollywood players, quipping, “I think I might be sick.” In response to Fraser’s anxiousness, the interviewer replied, “The internet is so behind you! We’re so supportive.” She then added, “There are so many people out there who love you, and we’re rooting for you, and we can’t wait to see what you do next.” Fraser became noticeably emotional after hearing how much love fans have for him, and took a drink of water before tipping his cowboy hat and saying, “Shucks ma’am.”
If this doesn’t make you fall in love & cheer on for Brendan Fraser, you’re heartless. He’s such a sweet precious man!
Thank you @LittleLottie91 for this interview. I’ve always been a Fraser friend! #Brenaissance pic.twitter.com/9mbCluSYxO
— Constance Sorrow 🏳️🌈🖤💗💜💙 (@Rox_Al_Ghul_89) August 9, 2021
Fans were absolutely delighted to see Fraser hear how appreciated he was, proving that despite all of the setbacks that he has faced, he is still a beloved figure in Hollywood. Here’s hoping his career resurgence continues for years to come.