Why did Brendan Fraser stop acting? From assault incident to surgeries, actor's career explored as he makes remarkable comeback with The Whale

Brendan Fraser gets emotional at Venice Film Festival. (Image via Michael Tran/Getty Images)
Brendan Fraser gets emotional at Venice Film Festival. (Image via Michael Tran/Getty Images)

Brendan Fraser was recently the talk of the town as his upcoming movie The Whale was screened at the Venice Film Festival. The movie got a six-minute standing ovation, and a video clip captured Fraser shedding a few tears while the audience cheered for him and the movie.

After receiving an overwhelming response from the audience, Fraser hugged director Darren Aronofsky several times. He reportedly tried to leave the theater once, but the claps and praises made him stay and cherish the moment longer.

As Fraser's emotional clip surfaced on Twitter, netizens wondered why he left acting in the first place. In The Whale, Fraser stars as a plus-sized gay man confined to a wheelchair.

While Fraser cited many reasons for temporarily leaving acting, he noted an assault incident involving the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), Philip Berk.

Brendan Fraser has suffered several stunt injuries over the years


In an interview with GQ during the promotions of his television series Trust, Brendan Fraser opened up on why he decided to be less visible as an actor.

He noted that he had had plenty of stunt injuries, which made it difficult for him to continue working at full pace. He underwent several surgeries, including a laminectomy, partial knee replacement, and vocal cord treatment. Brendan Fraser noted that he was in and out of the hospital for seven long years.


Speaking about the death of his mother in 2016, Fraser mentioned that the incident moved him too much. He also noted:

"I changed houses; I went through a divorce. Some kids were born. I mean, they were born, but they're growing up. I was going through things that mould and shape you in ways that you're not ready for until you go through them.”

However, one of the biggest reasons remains an inappropriate incident that Brendan Fraser had to go through during his active years in Hollywood.

During the same interview with GQ, Fraser spoke about a 2003 incident at the Beverly Hills Hotel where he was attending a luncheon for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The actor had alleged that Philip Berk, the former president of the HFPA, assaulted him during the event. Fraser said:

"His left hand reaches around, grabs my a** cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around."

Noting that he became "depressed" and "reclusive," Brendan Fraser added that the incident made him feel "ill... like a little kid... like there was a ball in my throat."

Brendan Fraser also admitted that losing out on the role of Superman in Superman Returns took a huge toll on him and he thought he "didn't measure up" and had "failed." The actor said:

"That requires what they call thick skin, or just ignoring it, putting your head in the sand, or gnashing your teeth and putting on your public face, or just not even…needing the public. Ignoring. Staying home, damn it. You know, not 'cause I'm aloof or anything, but because I just felt I couldn't be a part of it. I didn't feel that I belonged."

Brendan Fraser asserted that he disappeared from acting and eventually from public life because he “bought into the pressure that comes with the hopes and aims that come with a professional life that's being molded and shaped and guided and managed.”

Brendan Fraser became a household name after starring in the movie The Mummy (1999). He has also starred in many other successful projects: School Ties (1992), Blast From The Past (1999), Bedazzled (2000), Inkheart (2008), and Journey to the Center of the Earth (2008).


His latest movie, The Whale, was released on September 4. Apart from Fraser, it stars Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Samantha Morton, and Ty Simpkins.

According to Variety, The Whale may also put Brendan Fraser as the forerunner in this year's "Best Actor" Oscar category.

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Edited by Prem Deshpande
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