Very Nice Guy Brendan Fraser’s comeback has been building for a while. The late ’90s comedy/action star has spent years out of the pop culture culture zeitgeist, depriving the world of his unusual mix of broad comic talent and genuine pathos. A return has been in order for a long time and last weekend, at the Venice Film Festival, it seems to have begun in earnest.
Fraser stars in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, an adaptation of a stage play about an English teacher attempting to connect to his daughter (played by Sadie Sink). Fraser’s performance dazzled viewers, sparking a six-minute standing ovation in which a clearly moved Fraser appeared overwhelmed by the applause.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) September 4, 2022
In 2018, Fraser told GQ Magazine exactly what sparked his near-disappearance from public life. For starters, his stunt work on The Mummy franchise took a huge toll on his body, requiring several surgeries and painful years of recovery that left him unable to work.
Fraser also alleged that he had been groped by the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the group that handles the Golden Globes. Fraser wondered if he’d been blacklisted after he refused the man’s advances.
It was a very sobering profile in which Fraser was very open about how difficult his years in exile have been. But since then, things have looked up a little. He got acclaim for his work on Doom Patrol and popped up in Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move, which led to a villain role on Warner Bros’ Batgirl movie. That movie has been shelved, which at first seemed like another stroke of rotten luck, but has opened the door for acclaim and early Oscar chatter for his work on The Whale.
“Man, this makes me so happy to see this beautiful ovation for Brendan,” cheered Dwayne Johnson on social media. “He supported me coming into his Mummy Returns franchise for my first ever role, which kicked off my Hollywood career. Rooting for all your success brother and congrats to my bud Darren Aronofsky.”
And now, after years of near silence, Fraser’s upcoming schedule is busy. He’ll show up next to Leonardo DiCaprio in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon and will co-star alongside Peter Dinklage and Glenn Close in Brothers. All told, sounds like Brendan Fraser is back. He’s been missed.