How Brendan Fraser’s 2022 Redefined His Career

Hollywood can be a volatile place, especially for A-listers. One minute you’re on top, your face on back-to-back blockbuster movie posters, and the next you’re replaced by a new generation of up-and-coming actors. The transition from top talent to a has-been is unfortunate. But in rare cases, the cycle can actually reverse.


Something like this seems to happen with Brendan Fraser. After years out of the public spotlight, leaving fans wondering where he went, Fraser is once again having a golden time in Hollywood (a Brendanbirth, If you want). This moment is not the result of a single thing, but of a combination of factors. Let’s see how 2022 became the year of a fresh start for Brendan Fraser’s career.

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Fraser’s Promising Early Years

Brendan Fraser in the movie School Ties
Paramount Pictures

The 1990s were a time of transformation for Hollywood. It was a time when the success of films still largely depended on actors and scripts instead of recognition of the franchise’s intellectual property. The industry was looking for promising new talent to become stars. Step into the 1992s Encino Mana goofy comedy featuring a charismatic performance by rookie actor Brendan Fraser.

The film established the tall, handsome young actor’s impeccable comedic skills and top-tier potential. A dramatic turning point the same year School ties proved that Fraser was not just a one-note comedian, but an all-around actor who could hold his own against the best of his peers, like his co-stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris O’Donnell.

The era of mummies

The cast of Mummy with Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz
Universal images

Throughout the ’90s, Fraser steadily built an impressive resume as a likeable and charismatic leading man in multiple film genres. 1997 George of the Jungle proved to be a defining moment in the actor’s career, indicating he was ready to rise through the ranks of Hollywood’s leading men to ascend to the hallowed position of an A-lister blockbuster.

RELATED: Brendan Fraser Says Tom Cruise’s The Mummy Failed Because He Forgot One Thing

And then came the film that cemented Fraser’s status as one of the biggest stars of his generation. 1999 The Mummy was a film that few people had high expectations of. But its heady mix of action, adventure and old-school comedy resulted in a massive global hit. Fraser’s turn as cloak-and-dagger frontman Rick O’Connell drew particular praise, being compared to iconic characters like Indiana Jones and James Bond.

Brendan Fraser enters the big leagues

Brendan Fraser in Extraordinary Measures
Double feature films

Thanks to the success of The Mummy franchise, the 2000s were a great period for the career of Brendan Fraser. As well as reprising his role as Rick O’Connell, Fraser starred in a number of well-received films like Bedazzled, The Quiet American and Looney Tunes: Back in action. Although not all of the films were a giant hit, audiences continued to respond favorably to Fraser’s laid-back on-screen charm.

The actor also took time off from movies to appear in minor television roles. One of the most notable examples is Fraser’s appearance in two episodes of Scrubs, widely considered among the best episodes of the entire series. Seemingly incapable of making a bad film career, Fraser received a star on his home country’s Canadian Walk of Fame in 2006 for his contribution to the entertainment industry.

The missing years

Brendan Fraser in No Sudden Movement
Pictures from Warner Bros.

After two decades of working with the best talent Hollywood had to offer, Brendan Fraser’s career seemed to come to an abrupt halt in the 2010s. much more niche and quirky, like the Bollywood film where Fraser plays an undercover copor the 2013 direct-to-video Canadian action thriller To burst.

RELATED: Best Brendan Fraser Movies & Shows After The Mummy Franchise

Fans began to wonder about the strange new direction the actor’s career had taken and why he stopped appearing in mainstream blockbusters in lead roles. The truth is that Fraser’s private life at the time was going through extreme upheaval due to difficult divorce proceedingsand some serious workplace injuries. He also blamed his career downfall on sexual harassment which he personally experienced. All of this had a direct effect on his choice of roles and the type of projects he said yes to. The 2010s will end with Brendan Fraser’s virtual disappearance from the pop-cultural zeitgeist.

career change

Doom Patrol Brendan Fraser Diane Guerrero Avril Bowlby
HBO Max

Although he hadn’t appeared in any major projects for a decade, fans hadn’t forgotten about Brendan Fraser. So when the actor made his comeback with the 2021 Hollywood flick No sudden movementthe project was heralded by fans on social media as the return of a Hollywood favorite who had been missing from the big screen for far too long.

Fraser further proved that he was serious about his return and that he didn’t hang up on being considered an A-lister, when he accepted a supporting role as Cliff Steel on the DC Superhero Show Doom Patrol. Fraser’s turn as a tortured anti-hero was hailed as a show highlight and served to push the actor further back onto the Hollywood map.

Brendan Fraser returns with The Whale

Brendan Fraser in The Whale
A24

All of this led to 2022, when Fraser partnered with famous filmmaker Darren Aronofsky to star in the independent psychological drama The whale opposite stranger things star Sadie Sink. The film won rave reviews from critics, and Fraser’s starring role as an overweight man struggling to reconnect with his estranged daughter is being called his best career performance.

With an Oscar nomination for her role in The whale reputed to be heavily on the cards, Fraser is making a strong case for being put back on Hollywood’s A-list. While the high profile bat girl movie the actor was also set to star in has been canceled, Fraser has a number of interesting mainstream projects in the works, which means the 2020s could very well be the era of Brendan Fraser’s second coming.

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