If there’s one actor that can relate to the undead, it’s Brendan Fraser. When you visit his website, you’ll see what we mean. It’s a whiff on the old school side (to put things politely) and that’s because the site was created sometime back in the early noughties and hasn’t had a design update since.
But, once upon a time back in 1999, Fraser entered the action-adventure realm as Rick O’Connell, an American serving in the French Foreign Legion who got all mixed up with a buxom librarian and her bumbling brother in a quest to find the lost city of Hamunaptra. Fraser was comfortable at The Mummy’s helm, exchanging wit and flirtation with Rachel Weisz as he radiated that classic American pizzazz. Then something happened.
Despite solid turns in movies like Bedazzled, Crash, and The Quiet American, Hollywood stopped taking Brendan seriously. Movie bombs didn’t help, of course. Two more installments of The Mummy didn’t lead anywhere either. Then he took part in Furry Vengeance, in which Fraser teamed up with some computer-generated woodland animals to battle an evil corporation, treating us to a degree of sadism we’d never experienced before.
Fast forward to 2016 and we’re waiting on another installment of The Mummy. This one will see Tom Cruise among a team of military commandos who bring an entombed mummy from Egypt to London. But their plane malfunctions and the mummy awakens in a bad mood. It also stars Russell Crowe, and the bad guy is now a lady mummy played by Sofia Boutella. Alex Kurtzman directed the project, which is set to hit theaters in 2017 as the first installment in Universal’s planned monster shared universe.
We’re not saying it’s going to bomb. We’re just saying that unless Brendan Fraser shows up for a cameo with an awful one-liner, we don't give a damn about this reboot of The Mummy. And here are 5 reasons we want – no, need – Brendan back on board.
He made The Mummy movies iconic
Throughout the '90s, Fraser's path to celeb stardom was on the straight and narrow. He starred in a handful of good indie flicks, including Gods And Monsters alongside Ian McKellen, before opting for more commercial fare, like George Of The Jungle and – of course – The Mummy. The latter movie was a commercial success and had critics rallying behind Fraser all the way.
Cruise is, of course, the king of the blockbuster, as the megastar of the Mission Impossible and Jack Reacher franchises, but no franchise has defined him as The Mummy has defined Fraser. Tom is a star; Brendan is a character actor. And that character is the heart and soul of The Mummy franchise, whether he’s in the next film or not.
In fact, he’s a great actor
Whatever your opinion of Brendan Fraser might be, there is one fact that is undeniable: he used to be a movie star. That’s right, a bonafide, totally legit movie star. Yep, in his heyday, Fraser was good – very good, a bit like a goofy, budget version of Chris Pratt. He was even touted as a potential Superman at one point – and probably would’ve brought more charisma to the role than Henry Cavill’s version.
Why do we love watching him on the big-screen? Probably because he knows exactly how to ham it up, he’s the unsung hero of overacting. I mean, we have nothing against Tom Cruise. And this new Mummy flick could be pretty decent. But, if the franchise still has some sort of cultural cache worth tapping into, then we want Brendan back on board. The original film was basically a more lighthearted Indiana Jones – good storytelling, decent effects, cinematography to evoke past mummy movies. But mostly, 1999’s The Mummy was great because Brendan made the movie’s campy and comedic tone pitch perfect.
Essentially, what we’re saying is: we’re not really convinced yet that the franchise is worth a huge overhaul, but if you have to bring back The Mummy at all, then bring it back with Brendan.
He’s steeped in tragedy right now...
Let’s not kick a guy when he’s down! Fraser became the subject of general internet ridicule after cameras caught him awkwardly clapping while Robert De Niro presented an award at the 2010 Golden Globes. He’s also fighting a paunch and hair loss, is bouncing back and forth between various “dad” roles and kids movies, and – to top it all – has a reputation for playing largely vacuous characters (think George of the Jungle, Encino Man, Monkeybone, Blast from the Past, Dudley Do-Right).
But, probably, everything was going alright for Brendan. Until he saw the poster for the new Mummy film, starring Cruise (also known to many as “Not Brendan Fraser”). Brendan composed himself when asked about the casting decision for the new franchise, his response was as gracious as it was sad. He said:
I am flattered as Tom Cruise is a really big movie star… There were many movies made before the one that I was lucky to be a part of. I am certain that this one will be unique… I have met Tom before and he is a nice guy. He will be great and the film will be exciting. I will buy the ticket to watch it on the opening day.
He’s not even invited to the premiere!? God knows what tomb Brendan Fraser disturbed in his previous life, but nobody deserves to be treated like that.
Did Tom Cruise ever look this good on a poster?
No. No, he didn’t.
Neither did Tom Cruise have beautifully puckered lips and Fabio hair during the ‘90s.
Brendan’s best may be yet to come
Is it possible for Fraser to reclaim some of his former glory? Sure it is. If Matthew McConaughey can whip up a McConaissance – a dauntless second act in the life of a man whose previous acting career relied heavily on a six pack and a Southern drawl – then Brendan can do it, too.
Fraser has become a familiar face in the indie film world, appearing in movies like Journey to the End of Night, Terry George’s Stand Off and last year’s A Case of You. He’s great in all of them. Fraser also had a successful guest stint on Scrubs, playing Dr. Cox’s fun-loving best friend. Most recently, Fraser picked up a recurring role during the third season of Showtime's acclaimed The Affair, joining a talented ensemble. He’ll also be seen The Field, a Bollywood crime drama about the Indian mafia. We haven't seen the last of him by a long shot.
Is anyone listening out there in Hollywood? Fraser still possesses his full arsenal of talents, and though he is older and not as pretty as he used to be, with age comes experience. All he needs is a film like The Mummy to get him back on his feet and firmly in the spotlight again. Amen.
While you wait for The Mummy reboot, check out our 10 best movies of 2016.