‘I had something to say, too’

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Brendan Fraser is poised for a career comeback – and possibly an Oscar – with his return to the big screen in Darren Aronofsky’s The whale. In a new interview with CBS Sunday morningtells the actor why he stepped back from Hollywood in the first place.

Speaking to CBS’ Lee Cowan, Fraser reflects on his leading status in the 1990s and 2000s thanks to roles in films such as Encino Man, School Tapes, George of the Jungle and especially the blockbuster mummy franchise.

“I think, that guy is really luckythe 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 says he felt like he didn’t quite measure up.

“I felt at that moment that it wasn’t enough,” he says. “I wasn’t big enough, I wasn’t cut enough, or any of those adjectives. And the person I saw and tried to create wasn’t an ideal in my mind. And how do you deal with that?”

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

Fraser says he “needed the music to quit” — which meant stepping away from Hollywood.

“We can put actors on a pedestal and then knock them off so quickly and easily,” he says. “It’s almost like that’s the game. So I just removed the pedestal. I just wanted to be myself.”

But it wasn’t just self-doubt that caused Fraser’s hiatus. 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. While Berk has maintained that he was merely jokingly squeezing the actor’s buttocks, Fraser has described the touching as more invasive. (“His left hand reaches around, grabs my ass cheek and one of his fingers hits me in the blemish. And he starts moving with it,” he shared GK in 2018.)

“It caused me emotional stress,” he says of the incident. “It caused me personal distress.”

He tells Cowan that until then he had “played by the rules” regarding Hollywood’s power dynamics. What happened to Berk was a wake-up call – and a line in the sand.

“I felt OK, now all of a sudden I’ve been violated and it’s gone too far,” he says. “And I will no longer tolerate this.”

Fraser says the #MeToo movement has given him the courage to share his story.

“I raised my voice because I saw so many of my friends and colleagues bravely step forward to speak their truth during that time,” Fraser tells Cowan. “And I also had something to say.”

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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