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Arts and Entertainment

The Internet Wants To Revive Brendan Fraser's Career After 'The Mummy' Snub

brendan_fraser.jpg
Yes, this is Brendan. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images)
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The New York Post took a jab at ‘90s icon Brendan Fraser on Wednesday when it published a piece with the headline “Fans trying to save Brendan Fraser’s career need a hobby.”

As noted by the Post, the mission to revive Fraser’s career has now become A Thing on the internet, especially after it was announced that Tom Cruise will star in a reboot of The Mummy, snatching the starring role that Fraser had formerly occupied (as the stout Rick O’Connell) when the action movie first came out in 1999. Fraser would reprise the role in two proper sequels. When asked on the radio program SwaysUniverse why he wasn't in the reboot, Fraser said that he was busy raising his kids, adding that he's also "got a horse" to mind.

The revived fanfare was also partly inspired by a December interview that Fraser did at AOL headquarters, which made some fans concerned about the actor’s well-being. Some viewers believed that Fraser, speaking on his recent role in the Showtime series The Affair, appeared to be a little out of sorts. He does, indeed, speak in a gruff and quiet tone—a departure from the confident, magnanimous personality that millennials have come to cherish.

The fervor over Fraser has manifested itself in many forms. There’s a whole “SAVEBRENDAN” subreddit, for instance, that’s devoted to rejuvenating the career of the “Encino Man.” In a post titled “Our Current Plan,” an admin lays out the group’s mission statement:

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First of all I propose a Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ campaign (among other sectors of the social media sphere) and lobby Directors, Producers, absolutely anyone involved with tv or film production into giving our man Brendan a good solid role that he deserves.

Redditors had also given birth to a gaggle of hashtags that include #SaveBrendanFraser, #savebrendan, #dontforgetbrendan, and the very unwieldy #dontputtheerasertothefraser. This has led to an uptick in Fraser activity on Twitter, with many fans espousing their admiration of the actor:

There’s also a Change.org petition that has garnered over 34,000 signatures (it has set a goal of 35,000). The signees’ aim is to call “on all networks to please consider Brendan for any upcoming shows/movies that are planned.” It even wades into some serious territory, noting that Fraser had petitioned the courts in 2013 to reduce his alimony (he was divorced in 2009). The petition claims that Fraser said he was unable to pay the annual $900,000 that was required of him.

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Before we go any further, some things to consider:

1. A lot of the “appreciation” takes on a jokey tone, suggesting that some people are supporting Fraser in a display of irony. This is most evident when people claim he’s the "best actor in all history" and proclaim him as a "god."

2. When it comes to the topic of Fraser’s alimony issue, some commentators inch a little too closely to “men’s rights” territory, which is in of itself a problematic can of worms.

But, having said that, Fraser really does deserve a comeback. Fraser’s appearance in The Affair was a good reminder of his acting chops, according to the A.V. Club, which says that the role is a bit of a star-turn for him, adding that he is “almost unrecognizable in this villainous role” and that “he’s doing such a good job” with a relatively minor spotlight.

In the ‘90s, Fraser rose to (relative) prominence not just as a teen idol; he was versatile actor as well. He had enough of the goofy charms to supply comedic relief, and he could put on a straight face when the moment called for it (many may have forgotten the Dick Wolf-penned School Ties, or the weirdly affecting With Honors, in which Fraser, a Harvard student, befriends a homeless man played by Joe Pesci). And while Fraser had the build of an action star, his face had a kind of elastic quality that could evoke a wide spectrum of emotions. Could you say that about Cruise? Whose expression usually ranges from Serious to Even More Serious?

All these qualities made Fraser a good pick for The Mummy, which called for a brawny hero who also toed the line as an everyman. Fraser's problem, perhaps, was that he was too good at playing a lovable oaf, which pigeonholed him into roles where he was forever the hapless (but well-meaning!) goon. The fare resulting from this vein ranged from the kind-of-memorable (Airheads, Encino Man, Blast From The Past) to the instantly forgettable (Monkeybone, Dudley Do-Right). And perhaps this has all cast a shadow over the talents that he possesses.

Anyway, to further our recent appreciation of Fraser, here are some select clips from his oeuvre:

And here's him speaking with Charlie Rose in 1999: