By this point, it’s clear Brendan Fraser is having a moment, and his widely-lauded appearance in the haunting film The Whale has earned him significant praise from the critics, with many viewing it as his comeback role.
People who have worked with Fraser have, unsurprisingly, had many things to say about their experiences. What stands out is the extent to which such commentary is almost universally positive, and Fraser is clearly the kind of actor who inspires those around him with his innate goodness, his commitment to his craft, and his indelible charisma. Time and again over the years, both his directors and his cast-mates have made it clear just why he was, and remains, one of the most universally beloved stars in Hollywood.
- Photo: The Whale / A24
Known for such innovative and challenging films as Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream, Darren Aronofsky has always had an ability to bring out compelling performances from his stars. This is particularly true in The Whale, and he allows Brendan Fraser’s innate charisma to shine through his extensive prosthetics.
Aronofsky has also spoken highly positively about his star, pointing out how his career hasn’t been as robust as it should have been but how he nevertheless retains the profound appeal of a leading man. “Once a leading man, always a leading man,” the director remarked in an interview with GQ. He added:
I really believe that. I think there’s a quality to actors of his ilk - there’s a magic in there that doesn’t go away. Especially if it hasn’t had much time to shine.
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The Mummy remains a beloved film, in large measure because it manages to combine elements of horror, adventure, and comedy. Of course, a significant amount of the film’s appeal also stems from Brendan Fraser’s performance, and his character of Rick O’Connell remains one of his most beloved creations.
The film’s director, Stephen Sommers has, like many others, spoken in glowing terms about his star. He has been particularly effusive about Fraser’s willingness to do whatever was asked of him. "He could throw a punch and take a punch and he had a great sense of humor,” he remarked in an interview. “You really like the guy. He never comes across as cocky or arrogant…. He was game for anything we threw at him.”
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Sarah Treem Said His 'Familiarity To Audiences' Made Him Perfect For 'The Affair'
Though some of his most recognizable performances have been in the films of the 1990s and 2000s, in the 2010s Fraser slowly began making appearances on television. Of particular note was his appearance in The Affair, the brooding drama about various extramarital affairs and the impacts these have on those who are involved.
It was precisely his familiarity that drew the creators and producers of the show to him. In the series, he plays a prison guard who seems to have some secrets lurking behind his beautiful blue eyes. Sarah Treem, who co-created The Affair, had this to say about his star quality:
We were looking for somebody who had the ability to be incredibly compelling, but also really creepy and disorienting.
This was one of the roles which would help to bring Fraser back to the attention of the general public.
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Zach Braff has his own impressive acting resume, appearing in an astonishing variety of films and TV series. Of particular note is the series Scrubs, on which Fraser made a notable guest appearance as a leukemia patient. Though his story was ultimately a sad one, Braff notes the extent to which people still remember Fraser’s character:
I think his episode arc of Scrubs is probably the most talked about in nine seasons of the show. People loved his character, people root for him. They just love the man and they love the actor.
Speaking personally, Braff said he has "such a warm place in my heart for that man. I loved spending time with him.”
- Photo: 20th Century Fox
The 1994 comedy Airheads is one of those quintessentially '90s productions, one with a rather silly premise but which nevertheless retains a power to make audiences laugh. It stars Fraser as Chazz Darby, a member of a band so desperate for fame they actually take over a radio station in an effort to get the attention they feel they deserve.
In addition to Fraser, the film also starred some other big names of the decade, including both Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi. It’s not surprising to find Sandler singing his co-star’s praises, as this seems to be quite common with those who have appeared with Fraser.
According to Sandler, Fraser committed absolutely to the role:
He really took [Airheads] serious, he took everything about the full growth of his character and his look and what each line meant. He was never messing around. The fact that he got to make The Whale, and a bunch of great movies over the years, but the fact that it's at such a great crescendo for him right now is not a shock.
Sandler added, "I hope every dream comes true for him. He's a good person. I wish him nothing but the greatest."
- Photo: Bedazzled / 20th Century Fox
In Bedazzled, Fraser plays Elliot Richards, a man who blunders his way into a pact with the Devil, here played by Elizabeth Hurley. It’s a very silly film, but this is precisely what makes it so much fun to watch. What’s more, there’s undeniable chemistry between Hurley and Fraser.
While the films has its critics, Hurley retains a great deal of fondness for her co-star. Speaking to PEOPLE about Fraser’s career renaissance, she gushed about her affection for him:
Brendan is one of the nicest human beings you could ever meet and I'm just so happy for him that he's just had this opportunity to shine again. […] It's been 20 years since I tortured him in Bedazzled. I loved [The Whale] and I love him.