‘I had something to say too’

Brendan Fraser is poised for a career comeback – and potentially an Oscar – with his return to the big screen in Darren Aronofsky’s film The whale. In a new interview with CBS Sunday morningthe actor opens up about what made him walk away from Hollywood in the first place.

Speaking with CBS’ Lee Cowan, Fraser reflects on his leading man status in the ’90s and 2000s thanks to roles in films such as Encino Man, School Ties, George of the Jungle and, in particular, the blockbuster Mummy franchise.

“I think, that boy is really lucky,the 54-year-old now says of his younger self, adding with a laugh, “I think he has great hair.”

Fraser was a Hollywood heartthrob at the time, but now he says he felt like he didn’t measure up.

“At that moment I felt it wasn’t enough,” she says. “I wasn’t old enough, I wasn’t cut enough, or any of those adjectives. And the person that I saw, and that I was trying to create, was not an ideal in my mind. And how do you struggle with that?”

Brendan Fraser says the #MeToo movement inspired him to speak out about a groping incident. (Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

Fraser says she “needed the music to stop,” which meant taking a step back from Hollywood.

“We can put actors on pedestals and then drop them so quickly and so easily,” he says. “It’s almost like this is the game. So I just got rid of the pedestal. I just wanted to be myself.”

But it wasn’t just self-doubt that caused Fraser to pause. In 2018, the divorced father of three went public about a 2003 groping incident involving Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Although Berk claimed he merely pinched the actor’s butt as a joke, Fraser described the touch as more invasive. (“His left hand reaches out, he grabs my ass cheek and one of his fingers touches me in the stain. And he starts moving it,” she said GQ in 2018.)

“It was causing me emotional distress,” she says of the incident. “It was causing me personal anguish.”

He tells Cowan that up until that point he had been “playing by the rules” with regards to Hollywood’s power dynamics. What happened with Berk was a wake-up call and a line in the sand.

“I felt OK, now, suddenly, I’ve been violated and it’s gone too far,” he says. “And I won’t take it anymore.”

Fraser credits the #MeToo movement with giving him the courage to share his story.

“I spoke up because I saw so many of my friends and colleagues who were boldly emerging at the time to express their power of truth,” Fraser tells Cowan. “And I had something to say too.”

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