Also Credited As:Brendan James Fraser
|Actor, Producer, Music, Visual Effects & Animation|
|Brendan James Fraser on December 3, 1968 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA|
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Born on Dec. 3, 1968 in Indianapolis, IN, Fraser's father, who worked for Canada's Office of Tourism, moved the family from place to place, including across Europe, the United States and Canada throughout his son's youth. It was while in London that the elementary school boy saw his first live play - a West End production of "Oliver" - and became captivated by the theater. He jumped right into the school drama department and went on to earn a bachelor of fine arts in acting from the Cornish School of the Arts in Seattle, WA. He landed a one-line role in the River Phoenix film "Dogfight" (1991), which was shooting in Seattle, then decided to forego his graduate school plans and head to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. The 6'3" newcomer made an immediate impression, landing a series pilot and winning raves for his co-starring turn as Martin Sheen's son in the telefilm "Guilty Until Proven Innocent" (NBC, 1991). By some miracle, Fraser's first starring feature role as an unfrozen caveman unearthed by skateboarding valley teens in "Encino Man" (1992) failed to put the death knell on his fledgling career. He was subsequently cast as the lead in the drama "School Ties" (1992), effectively playing a new student at a private boarding school who encounters a backlash of anti-Semitism. The film was a great showcase of Fraser's sensitive core and launched not only his career, but those of co-stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Chris O'Donnell.
A string of respected indie films followed, including "Twenty Bucks" (1993), "Young and Younger" (1993) and the cult comedy classic "Airheads" (1994), where Fraser starred alongside Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi as a rock band that takes a radio station hostage to get their music played. His strapping physique was tapped for the baseball comedy "The Scout" (1994), which paired him with neurotic sports scout Albert Brooks. He then returned to drama as a Harvard student who falls into an odd relationship with a conniving homeless man (Joe Pesci) in the wildly improbable "With Honors" (1994). Fraser had a stronger turn as a backwoodsman who goes mad from unrequited love in the stylish thriller "The Passion of Darkly Noon" (1996), while the period romantic comedy "Mrs. Winterburne" (1996) was an out-and-out misfire. Despite wanting to be taken seriously, Fraser struggled in his early dramas, but managed to triumph in several very different roles. He made for a sweet and very human incarnation of the cartoon character "George of the Jungle" (1997) in Disney's family blockbuster and also shined in an award-winning portrayal of a street performer who falls for a grifter in "Still Breathing" (1998).
But Fraser's ringing artistic accomplishment was his co-starring role in "Gods and Monsters" (1998), where he played a handsome gardener befriended by a gay, aging film director (Ian McKellen). The film earned several Oscar nominations won for Best Adapted Screenplay, while Fraser's stellar performance created murmurs that he finally might be in the league of art film leading men. But that glimpse of craftsmanship was quickly forgotten with his next role in the stoner comedy "Blast From the Past" (1999), where he played a 35-year-old raised in a bomb shelter who emerges to discover the world of the late 1990s. He went on to appear in his most commercially successful role as Rick O'Connell, a dashing, heroic Indiana Jones-like figure who discovers an Egyptian tomb unleashing "The Mummy" (1999). The adventure blockbuster marked the beginning of a profitable franchise. Before Fraser reprised his role in "The Mummy Returns" (2001), he starred in another cartoonish matinee offering as the live-action embodiment of square-jawed Royal Canadian Mountie "Dudley Do-Right" (1999), then played a dweeb granted seven wishes by a hellaciously tempting Satan (Elizabeth Hurley) in Harold Ramis' "Bedazzled" (2000).
Following the resounding financial failure of multi-media comedy "Monkeybone" (2001), Fraser returned to dramatic fare with a starring role in a well-received London stage revival of "Cat on Hot Tin Roof" opposite Ned Beatty and "Bedazzled" co-star Frances O'Connor. He went on to co-star as an undercover CIA operative opposite Michael Caine's reporter in the excellent, but underappreciated adaptation of Graham Greene's Vietnam saga, "The Quiet American" (2002). Though Caine and director Philip Noyce earned multiple award nominations and widespread critical praise for their efforts, Fraser was noted for his subtle standout performance, ably playing a character who is not what he appears to be and reminding audiences of a range that extended beyond gimmicky comedies. But old loves die hard. Fraser leapt headfirst into another cartoon-centric role when he took on the part of security guard DJ Drake, the human leading man opposite Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and the rest of the Warner Brothers stable of characters in "Looney Tunes: Back In Action" (2003).
Returning to serious fare, Fraser joined the A-list acting ensemble of the racially charged, multi-plot drama "Crash" (2005) for a brief turn as a high-powered Los Angeles District Attorney whose carjacking by a pair of black men looms as both a political and personal liability. The film received multiple Oscar awards, including Best Picture of the year. Fraser stayed in the indie world for another go-round, starring opposite Michelle Geller in "The Air I Breathe" (2007), an episodic crime drama that told four divergent stories centering around an ancient Chinese proverb about the emotional cornerstones of life: happiness, pleasure, sorrow and love. The following year, Fraser starred in a pair of summer adventure releases, starting with an adaptation of Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (2008), which was released in 3-D, then reprising the role of adventurer Rick O'Connell in "The Mummy: The Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" (2008).
Fraser returned the following year in the fantasy adventure "Inkheart" (2009) as a heroic father with the uncanny ability to make any story he reads aloud become reality. Based on his past record of cinematic derring-do, Fraser was, in fact, the inspiration for the character originally created by German author Cornelia Funke in her best-selling series of young adult novels. The actor next turned from the fantastic to the factual for the inspired by true events medical drama "Extraordinary Measures" (2010) opposite Harrison Ford, another actor known primarily of this action roles. Although a commercial disappointment, many critics were impressed by the film and Fraser's moving portrayal of a biotech executive who raises the money needed to find a cure for his daughter's disease with the aid of a scientist (Ford). More of a critical humiliation than a commercial failure was Fraser's next film, "Furry Vengeance" (2010), in which he played a real estate developer targeted by various four-legged denizens of the forest, on whose home he intends to build a shopping mall. He went on to appear in the indie crime comedy "Whole Lotta Sole" (2011) as an antiques dealer who may or may not be the father of an inept would-be criminal (Martin McCann).