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Brendan Fraser’s Hollywood Comeback is Proof Hollywood is Finally Listening to (Not Ridiculing) Male Victims of Sexual Assault

brendon fraser

On September 4th, 2022, the film that marks Brendan Fraser’s Hollywood comeback, had its world premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival. Called The Whale, the Darren Aronofsky-directed psychological drama marks the journey of Charlie, a lonely, secluded, reclusive, 600-pound English teacher who shut himself away after an unfortunate tragedy. The premise, based on the Broadway play titled the same, follows Fraser’s character in a deeply personal, emotional, and challenging setting.

Brendan Fraser Whale
Brendan Fraser in The Whale

It is not a surprise that the film received a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. While Aronofsky’s films are tinged with cinematic brilliance like no other, as many of his fans can attest, The Whale has brought about an important moment in Hollywood history. With Fraser’s comeback being lauded as critics have nothing but praises to sing for it, we stand before a change in the industry that should’ve taken place a long time ago.

Fraser’s famed acting expedition has not been kind to him. There’s a reason why the acclaimed leading figure of the ’90s and early 2000s was not seen in the mainstream spotlight for years. While certainly a devastating tale to recount, it does depict to the world that despite everything, the astoundingly talented actor has managed to triumph over the painstaking tribulations that befell him.

Brendan Fraser’s Hollywood Journey

The actor is best known for his role in The Mummy
The actor is best known for his role in The Mummy

When the much-deserved standing ovation for The Whale occurred, Brendan Fraser was brought to tears. It’s a testament to the love, adoration, and warm welcome he received after years of being estranged from Hollywood. It was in 1991 that Fraser made his first feature film debut with a minor role in Dogfight. While The Mummy, which was released in 1999, cemented the actor as one of Hollywood’s finest talents, his first lead role in Encino Man provided him with notable commercial success. The film and Fraser received a cult-classic stature.

Things seemed to be going smoothly for the critically renowned star. The late 90s and early 2000s delivered to the masses some of his career’s biggest hits. Fraser was quickly rising in the ranks, becoming one of the most versatile actors in the industry.

George of the Jungle Brendan Fraser
George of the Jungle

Read also: ‘It wound up being the canary in the coal mine’: Brendan Fraser Hints WB Doomed Batgirl By Turning it into a Made-for-TV Film

Jumping from one genre to another, the audiences enjoyed and revered several sides of the actor. George of the Jungle, Still Breathing, The Mummy Returns, The Quiet American, etc. — the eminent star seemed unstoppable. The sky was the limit and Brendan Fraser was here to say.

Or so we thought.

Personal Trials And Tribulations

In a 2018 interview with GQ, Fraser mentioned how certain roles had pushed him to the edge. In retrospect, as stated by the actor himself, he was “trying too hard, in a way that’s destructive.” His films were taking a physical toll on him, all thanks to the rigorous and challenging action stunts he had to pull off. Such experiences mounted up to years of pain, which ultimately resulted in several surgeries.

Batgirl FandomWire
Brendan Fraser at an event

Read more: Brendan Fraser Makes a Comeback Story For the Ages By Receiving a Six-Minutes Standing Ovation For His Unforgettable Performance in The Whale

The actor had to go through a laminectomy, partial knee replacement, and having his vocal cords fixed. As alleged by the actor, he was a constant visitor to the hospitals for almost seven consecutive years.

Furthermore, the actor opened up about something that kept haunting him for years; something he couldn’t speak about due to the risk of humiliation. Fraser alleged that in 2003, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, had sexually assaulted him. To this, Berk had one response: “Mr. Fraser’s version is a total fabrication.” This harrowing experience had pushed the famed actor into depression. He felt “reclusive”, as he retreated away from the stardom that caused excruciating pain.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association

He also wondered whether the HFPA ended up backlisting him, as he was seldom invited to the Golden Globes after the incident that occurred in 2023.

Things never quite ended just there. Brendan Fraser also went through a divorce with ex-wife Afton Smith and was faced with the death of his mother. An amalgamation of heart-shattering experiences led the actor into drawing himself away from the public eye.

A New Dawn

The Whale cast
The Whale cast at the Venice Film Festival

Read more: “I developed muscles I did not know I had”: Brendan Fraser Shares Why He Took a Massive Risk by Playing a 600 lbs Overweight Character in his ‘Oscar Worthy’ Movie ‘The Whale’

2022 marks Brendan Fraser’s comeback. To say The Whale has garnered a critical liking no other would be an understatement. It follows a premise so personal, yet so delicately handled. It’s inspiring and provides for a moviegoing experience that requires careful contemplation. With people commending Fraser for his raw, authentic, and deeply moving performance, the future for the actor seems promising.

Irrespective of any industry, within the spectrum of society, men have had to face constant ridicule for coming forth with their sexual assault experiences. They have been mocked and scoffed at for years. Such instances of invalidating their trauma were rampant. It still, undeniably, is.

But to say that the world isn’t changing would be a lie. Fraser’s uber-successful Hollywood return is a testament to the industry’s evolving perceptions. The world is deeply doting on the actor, rooting for nothing but profound accomplishment and wholehearted happiness.

Needless to say, Brendan Fraser was born to create history. And this time, without an inkling of doubt, he’s here to stay.

The Whale is slated to release on 9 December 2022.

Written by Debdipta Bhattacharya

Always having had a deep fascination for content creation and pop-culture, Debdipta joined as a writer at FandomWire in 2022. Currently pursuing an undergraduate Mass Communication degree, Debdipta enjoys the intricacies of cinema and film-making, with a year of screenwriting experience to account for. Besides her knack for writing, she's also an avid reader, a connoisseur of music across all genres, and a die-hard fan of Charlie Kaufman.