This is the Real Reason Brendan Fraser Disappeared From Hollywood For Years
Have you ever wondered what happened to Brendan Fraser? You may remember him from some of your favorite childhood films like The Mummy, George of the Jungle, and Encino Man.
The good news is that Fraser is now an Oscar-winning actor and still in demand in Hollywood. However, he seemed to have disappeared from acting for a while. Curious as to why? There’s a fascinating reason why Fraser temporarily stopped making blockbuster movies.
Tough Beginnings for the Star
Despite the light-hearted films that Brendan Fraser is famous for, the actor has always been fully committed to his roles. In fact, when he first started acting, Fraser embraced the danger that comes with the job.
In the 1991 film Dogfight, where he starred as a sailor, Fraser had a fight scene in which he was thrown into a pinball machine for a shot. Although he ended up with a bruised rib, Fraser was happy to do it for his art and even earned an extra $50 for his dedication.
The Well-Deserved Breakthrough
While he had a tough start, Fraser’s days of being hurled into arcade games didn’t last long. He landed his big break in the 1992 film Encino Man.
It may seem unlikely, but this silly movie about a caveman being defrosted now stars two Oscar winners. Ke Huy Quan, who played Fraser’s co-star in Encino Man, also won an Academy Award in 2023. Encino Man truly put Fraser on the path to stardom back in ’92.
Celebrity Status Unlocked
Brendan Fraser’s stardom was solidified with the release of George of the Jungle in 1997. This quick-witted and entertaining children’s comedy showcased Fraser’s abilities as a leading man and even made him something of a s** symbol.
His impressive physique was displayed throughout the film, and audiences couldn’t get enough of him. It was clear that Fraser had all the makings of an A-list actor and was well on his way to becoming one.
His Career Was Almost Mummified
After George of the Jungle, Fraser starred in The Mummy, a massive box office hit but a total nightmare to film. The cast endured sweltering conditions and dangerous encounters with spiders and snakes. Fraser, in particular, suffered greatly. One stunt that had his character strung up in a noose went terribly wrong, and he was accidentally choked while filming the scene.
During an appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show in March 2023, Fraser explained, “The camera swooped around, and I went up on the toes, and the guy holding the rope above me, he pulled it up a little higher, and I was stuck on my toes, and I had nowhere to go but down.”
Recovered to Push On
Fraser continued, “So he was pulling up, and I was going down, and then the next thing I knew, my elbow was in my ear, the world was sideways, and there was gravel in my teeth.”
Fortunately, the actor made it out okay, and despite the challenges of filming The Mummy, the movie became a huge hit. In fact, the film was so popular that it led to two sequels, a prequel, and even a rollercoaster ride at Universal Studios.
His Career Began to Go Downhill
For a time, Fraser managed to balance his franchise work with critically acclaimed films such as Gods and Monsters and the Oscar-winning Crash in 2004. After that, however, a string of box office flops, including Inkheart and Furry Vengeance, negatively impacted his acting career.
An alleged incident behind the scenes had a significant impact on his life. As a result, the actor seemingly vanished from Hollywood, leaving many fans wondering what happened to him. It wasn’t until February 22, 2018, that the answer came to light, and it was more concerning than anyone had anticipated.
His Body Couldn’t Handle the Pressure
In a revealing interview with GQ magazine, Fraser opened up about the toll his high-octane stunts had taken on his body over the years. The actor admitted that he had been pushing himself too hard, resulting in lasting physical damage.
By the time he was filming his third Mummy movie in China, Fraser said he was practically held together with tape and ice packs. “I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily,” he explained. Fraser had been working to heal his body for seven years.
Countless Hospital Trips
Fraser underwent multiple surgeries, including a laminectomy for his spine and a repeat procedure due to his lumbar not healing correctly. He also had additional work done on his back, a partial knee replacement, and an operation on his vocal cords. According to the star, he felt like “the horse from Animal Farm whose job it was to work and work and work.”
“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.” Despite this, the surgeries weren’t the only hardships Fraser faced.
Back in the Headlines
In 2009, Fraser went through a divorce, and in 2013, he had to request a reduction in his financial obligations to his ex-wife and three children due to his declining income. Although 2016 marked a minor career comeback with a role in the TV show The Affair, it was also a challenging year for the actor.
A promotional interview for the show caused concern among fans as Fraser appeared sad. Conspiracy theories arose about the star’s well-being, but the truth was that he was mourning the recent loss of his mother to cancer. “I buried my mom, and I didn’t know what that meant,” Fraser said to GQ.
Injuries and Unspoken Issues
Fraser’s surgeries significantly impacted his ability to work. “It wasn’t always possible to go to work in between being in and out of hospitals,” he shared with GQ. However, he wanted to emphasize that he wasn’t downplaying the seriousness of his situation but rather describing the reality of what he was going through.
Despite all this, there was something else that Fraser had yet to reveal. He had been through a lot over the past few decades but kept something hidden until now. Fraser explained to GQ that he was afraid to discuss it publicly because he didn’t have “the courage to speak up for risk of humiliation, or damage to [his] career.”
A Startling Admission
Fraser made a serious accusation against Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). In 2003, Berk allegedly groped Fraser, with the actor describing the incident as much more severe than what Berk had previously admitted to in his memoir.
While Berk had confessed to pinching Fraser’s behind during an HFPA luncheon, Fraser claimed that Berk’s finger had touched him in a much more intimate area.
A Traumatizing Experience
Fraser recalled the saddening experience: “I felt ill; I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.” The actor confirmed that he finally left the room, and the only person he told about the incident was his wife.
“I felt like someone had thrown invisible paint on me,” the star mulled. On his part, Berk maintained that Fraser’s version of events was “a total fabrication.”
Why He Never Spoke About It
For many years, Brendan chose not to speak about the incident publicly. He explained that he didn’t want to deal with the emotions it brought up or have it become a defining part of his story.
However, his representatives did ask the HFPA for a written apology on his behalf—and they eventually received one. Yet, in an interview with GQ, Berk reiterated, “My apology admitted no wrongdoing; if I’ve done anything that upset Mr. Fraser, it was not intended, and I apologize””
Into the Blacklist?
During the interview, Fraser expressed his concern that speaking out about the incident may have resulted in him being shunned by the HFPA, which could have negatively impacted his career.
“I don’t know if this curried disfavor with the group, with the HFPA, but the silence was deafening,” he revealed. The experience left Fraser feeling down and affected his ability to perform. He disclosed that it was tough to move on from the incident and put it behind him.
Rocked by Depression
Fraser revealed that he blamed himself for the incident and became miserable. “I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around, and he copped a feel,'” he explained to GQ. He couldn’t even remember what he went on to work on next that summer.
While Berk argued that the HFPA did not blacklist Fraser, the actor told GQ that the incident made him “feel reclusive,” and he lost a sense of himself. “In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me,” Brendan said. He confessed he might be “over-reacting in terms of what the instance was,” but it still had a lingering effect on him.
He Still Cannot Openly Speak About It
While speaking about the incident briefly helped him address the issue, Brendan is still scared to keep talking about it. “Am I still frightened? Absolutely,” he said. “Do I feel like I need to say something? Absolutely.”
“Have I wanted to many, many times? Absolutely. Have I stopped myself? Absolutely,” the star confessed. On his part, the actor partly blames the incident as one of the reasons why the “phone stopped ringing.” Still, Fraser received massive support from fellow actors who have come out with their own stories of se***l assault.
Massive Public Support
During the interview with GQ, Brendan Fraser expressed his support for those who have accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, some of whom he knows personally. Fraser admires the bravery of those who spoke out, saying, “I watched this wonderful movement, these people with the courage to say what I didn’t have the courage to say.”
Yet, when news of Fraser’s allegations surfaced, the internet was horrified. Still, many people who have made similar allegations against powerful men, including Rose McGowan and Anthony Rapp, came forward in support of Fraser. Rapp tweeted, saying, “My heart goes out to [Brendan], and I applaud his courage in coming forward to share his experience.”
The HFPA Statement
The day after Brendan Fraser’s interview with GQ, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) issued a statement expressing their stance against se***l harassment and similar misconduct. The statement read, “This report includes alleged information that the HFPA was previously unaware of, and at this time, we are investigating further details surrounding the incident.”
Despite stating that there was an ongoing investigation into the incident, nothing came out of it. Speaking to GQ in 2022, Fraser claimed that HFPA wanted him to sign a joint statement that read, “Although it was concluded that Mr. Berk inappropriately touched Mr. Fraser, the evidence supports that it was intended to be taken as a joke and not as a se***l advance.” The actor refused, and soon, things started unraveling for HFPA and the Golden Globes.
An Incoming Oscar
Thankfully, Fraser has been doing much better recently. In 2019, he began attending fan conventions as a way to break out of his shell and start putting himself out there again. Since then, he has landed more prominent and enjoyable roles in projects such as the Doom Patrol TV series and the No Sudden Move film.
Then came The Whale, which did so well that it completely revived his career. Fraser commented, “I don’t know if this is gonna give me some big redemption in my own life; I know that I’m proud of the work that I did, and it’s enough. It’ll live on long after me. And that’s good. The other stuff, maybe not so much. That’ll live on too, but… I think I just have to live for what’s happening for me now.”
An Overflow of Awards
Brendan Fraser’s performance in The Whale was outstanding and garnered him much critical acclaim. He was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe and ultimately won a Screen Actor’s Guild Award, a Critics Choice Award, and an Oscar.
This impressive sweep of awards completed an incredible career comeback that is a story in itself. During his Oscars acceptance speech, Fraser acknowledged the ups and downs of his journey and expressed his gratitude for the recognition.
An Unforgettable Acceptance Speech
As he received his Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Fraser was understandably overwhelmed, but that didn’t stop him from expressing himself. The actor mulled, “I started in this business 30 years ago, and things, they didn’t come easily to me, but there was a facility that I didn’t appreciate at the time. Until it stopped.”
The star didn’t skimp on thanking his loved ones, saying, “It’s been like I’ve been on a diving expedition to the bottom of the ocean, and the air on the line [has come from] some people in my life, like my sons Holden and Leland and Griffin.” Fraser also thanked his fellow nominees for how they “laid [their] whale-sized hearts bare so that we can see into your souls like no one else could do.”