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Whatever Happened to Brendan Fraser?

February 11, 2013

There was a time, not that long ago, when Brendan Fraser pulled eight-figure paychecks, earning $10 million for the ill-fated remake of Bedazzled and $12.5 million for the sequel The Mummy Returns. Now he’s been reduced to voicing astronaut “Scorch Supernova” in the awful-looking animated flick Escape from Planet Earth (opening Friday), and his latest live-action vehicle, the Irish heist farce Stand Off, was quietly dumped on VOD a few weeks ago. Where did it all go wrong?

Considering his breakthrough role was as a caveman alongside Pauly Shore in Encino Man, Fraser had a pretty good run. Although he struck out with the seemingly surefire Albert Brooks baseball comedy The Scout, he scored a couple of surprise hits with George of the Jungle and The Mummy and acquitted himself well opposite two of Britain’s best actors—Ian McKellan and Michael Caine—in Gods and Monsters and The Quiet American, respectively. But even before he costarred in a genuine Best Picture winner, 2004’s Crash, his career had started to veer off course with too many big, dumb family-comedy flops (Dudley Do-Right, Monkeybone).

Suddenly, his attempts at edgy indie movies (The Last Time, The Air I Breathe) were barely getting released, and his big-budget films (Inkheart) were bleeding red ink. True, 2008’s Journey to the Center of the Earth dug up enough cash to generate a sequel, but Fraser was replaced on last year’s Journey 2: The Mysterious Island by Dwayne Johnson. It’s not the first time Fraser has seen one of his franchises Rocked—the Mummy movies launched the ex-wrestler’s career, spinning him off as The Scorpion King. And now Johnson’s taken command of the G.I. Joe series, while Fraser’s character from the original, Sgt. Stone, is nowhere to be seen.

Brendan-Fraser-in-Furry-V-001Fraser really hit Rock bottom in 2010 with the twin turkeys Extraordinary Measures (a CBS Films release that looked like it should be a disease-of-the-week TV-movie, if not for the presence of Harrison Ford) and Furry Vengeance (in which he battled woodland creatures). He should’ve learned his lesson about not interacting with cartoonish critters with 2003’s daffy dud Looney Tunes: Back in Action.

Now Fraser’s star power is vanishing faster than his hair. Stand Off—generically retitled from the original, even worse Whole Lotta Sole—casts him as an American who flees to Ireland and is taken hostage after a fish-market robbery goes bad. The film stinks worse than seafood left out in the sun. It’s hard to believe cowriter-director Terry George is the same man behind In the Name of the Father and Hotel Rwanda, although at least those two had more laughs than Stand Off.

Fraser doesn’t look to reverse his professional free-fall anytime soon. He dropped out as the lead of TNT’s drama pilot Legends (and was replaced by Game of Thrones casualty Sean Bean). His upcoming feature slate doesn’t look too promising, unless you think the long-delayed The Legend of William Tell in 3D is bound to hit a box-office bull’s-eye (I don’t). Even the Mummy franchise is being rebooted without him. Looks like it may be time to embalm his movie career.

Does Brendan Fraser have a future, or is he a Blast from the Past? Post a comment!

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3 Comments
  1. Jared permalink

    Who?

  2. Ravi permalink

    He is a superb actor no doubt about that .Only problem is his will power which is continuosly declining because of his ex- wife.He needs to get recovered fast as possible and live happily again.

  3. Brendan Fraser an absolute great actor ! Loved all of his movies ! He should have been awarded highly for his professional work and his great talents !
    I would love to see him in more movies now ! Top job Brendan !

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