If there’s one thing we, the public, fall for over and over again, it’s a good celebrity comeback. For whatever reason, we seem to be obsessed with the idea of metaphorically resurrecting stars of the past who have fallen out of the limelight due to misbehaviour, personal demons or poor performances (or in most cases, a sad combination of all three). We’ve seen many a memorable bounceback over the years in Hollywood, from John Travolta in the 90’s to Robert Downey Jr in the 00’s to Matthew McConnaughey in the 2010’s and if the early indicators are anything to go by, it appears the 20’s could go down as the decade that belonged to longlost adventure hero, Brendan Fraser.
It’s been a bumpy road for Fraser in the recent years. The handsome, expressive Hollywood leading man burst onto the scene in 1997 and became famous for his unique ‘goofball’ charm, channeled in his role as George of the Jungle in 1997 and more prominently as adventurer Rick O’Connell in the hugely successful The Mummy franchise, which drew worldwide box office figures in the hundreds of millions in the late 90’s and 2000’s. Fraser’s career quietly began to wind down in the late 2010’s and after Tom Cruise’s The Mummy reboot in 2017 bombed with just about every audience, fans were reminded of Fraser absence and the world wondered exactly what happened to the man who made the originals so fun and memorable. According to Fraser himself, who reappeared in an interview with GQ in 2018 having not made a big screen appearance in four years, his decline was in large part due to a bout with depression onset by a myriad of circumstances, including a particularly messy separation from his former spouse, the passing of his mother, a collection of physical ailments accumulated for years of performing stunts in his films, and an incident with the now exiled President of the HFPA (the organisation which is probably best known for conducting the Golden Globes) in which Fraser alleges he was sexually assaulted by the President in 2003 and subsequently blackballed from many circles for speaking out.
Now sporting a vastly more modest physic in his early 50’s, the former heartthrob is ready to return to the screen with an entirely new legion of fans and supporters cheering him on and an entirely new slate of roles available to him. The ‘Fraissance’ began earlier this year with a supporting appearance in Steven Soderburgh crime-drama No Sudden Move but is really set to kick into first gear in 2022. Fraser is first set to lead Darren Aronovsky’s The Whale, a psychological drama where Fraser will be playing a 600lb reclusive widow attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter. Following that, Fraser will be featuring in what will no doubt be one of the year’s biggest pictures, Martin Scorsese’s next epic, KIllers of the Flower Moon, where he will rub shoulders with industry legends Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro. But the biggest news in the Brendan Fraser comeback story so far might’ve come this week, as reports have revealed he will, as has become a rite of passage for seemingly all modern Hollywood stars, be donning cape and costume in DC’s Batgirl, where he will be prominently featured as the film’s main antagonist, supervillain Firefly.
Whether the Fraissance has the same legs as the comebacks that have come before him, Fraser’s triumphant return to the screen is both a big win for us nostalgic millennials who get to see on of their childhood heroes doing his thing again, and for Fraser himself, who appears to have re-discovered both his faith in the industry and his love for the job that saw him experience so much success as a younger man. Here’s hoping this time, Brendan is here to stay.
Top image credit to HBO.