When Brendan Fraser first graced movie screens in the ’90s, he became an instant heartthrob, starring in films such as Airheads, Encino Man, and The Mummy. And, after some way from Hollywood, he’s now back (and winning an Academy Award for The Whale, no less).
Fraser’s comeback is in full swing, but there are plenty of fun facts you might not know about the Indianapolis-born actor. Like, for one, did you know he’s not still battling Imhotep? Yeah, apparently even mummies get tired. From wrestling plants to almost becoming the next Superman, here’s your dose of Brendan Fraser trivia.
10 Cool Brendan Fraser Facts
1. He Did Many of His Own Stunts
Like Tom Cruise and Jackie Chan, Fraser literally threw himself into his early roles, including those as The Mummy‘s Rick O’Connell and George of the Jungle.
In The Mummy 2, Fraser injured his knees, cracked a rib, and tore a spinal disk. This resulted in a partial knee replacement and multiple back surgeries.
In an interview with GQ, he told the reporter, “By the time I did the third Mummy picture in China, I was put together with tape and ice—just, like, really nerdy and fetishy about ice packs. Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads, ’cause they’re small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily.”
He also blacked out during the prison scene. Yeah, ok, maybe no more stunts for you.
2. He Wrestled a Plant to Land His Role in Encino Man
Though you’d think it’d be easy playing a caveman, being able to feign sheer wonder at we view as mundane takes some acting chops. During his audition for the role of Link in Encino Man, Fraser wrestled a plant and communicated with such impressive grunts that they decided he was a must for the lead.
We don’t want to know what would have happened had the plant won.
3. He Died for 18 Seconds While Filming The Mummy
In the scene where O’Connell is hanged, Fraser choked and blacked out. In a 1999 interview he said, “They killed me for 18 seconds…I figured, ‘I’ll get oxygen and hold my breath,’ and I was up on my toes and something went wrong — and the next thing I knew, I was waking up.”
4. He Was Considered for the Role of Superman
Fraser met with Superman‘s then director Brett Ratner who considered him for the superhero role of the Man of Steel. Ratner was eventually removed from the film after failing to find a suitable Superman and later faced harassment allegations. The movie, Superman Returns, eventually starred Brandon Routh and was directed by Bryan Singer. Who was also accused of harassment.
Unfortunately (or, fortunately), Fraser didn’t end up playing Clark, but he was so convinced he was going to that he bought his own Superman suit and told GQ that not getting the role broke his heart. Luckily, little gold men are great at gluing things back together.
5. He Speaks French Fluently
Fraser not only spoke French in Blast From the Past, he actually speaks the language of love fluently. He also peaks middling Spanish. We just want to know one thing: can he help us get past some levels in Duolingo and get that owl off our back?
6. He Could Have Been Inspector Gadget
Fraser was seriously considered to take on the title role in the 1999 film Inspector Gadget, but the filming conflicted with George of the Jungle.
7. He Starred in an Indian Crime Drama
In 2019, Fraser signed onto the intense Godfather-esque Indian thriller Line of Descent where he plays an arms dealer.
8. He Loves Photography
Everyone needs a hobby. And, Fraser’s is taking photos. In an interview with The Guardian, he said, “Seriously, I’m boring. I like red wine. I’m a wannabe camera geek in my personal life.” We too love a good Instagram filter.
9. He Hated the Diet for George of the Jungle
After Airheads, he went on to play George in George of the Jungle and got shredded for the role. Unfortunately, his then diet was also so low in carbs he forget his pin number one night. “I would drive home after work and stop to get something to eat,” Fraser remembered.
“I needed some cash one day, and I went to the ATM, and I couldn’t remember my PIN number because my brain was misfiring. Banging on the thing. I didn’t eat that night.”
Bread, it does a body good.
10. He Made His Acting Debut on America’s Most Wanted
The show often features reenactments, and Fraser was cast as the friend of a murder victim Rodney Mark Peterson in 1988. But hey, it’s better than playing a caveman frozen in ice, right? Oh wait…
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