Brendan Fraser is best known for his physical performances in popular comedies like The Mummy and George of The Jungle, but in a recent interview, The Whale star broke down the effect his early career performances had on his body and mind.
“I got a little banged up from years of doing my own stunts and needed a surgical fix on the spine and the hinges,” he told The Telegraph.
The actor went on to have a series of surgical procedures including a partial knee replacement to repair his body.
“That took a lot out of me. I knew I would get better, but it took a long time,” he said.
Fraser continued to say that in 2007 while shooting a third Mummy movie in China, every morning, he would wake up and put himself “together like a gladiator with muscle tape and ice packs, strapping on this Transformer-like exoskeleton just to get through the scene.”
When asked whether he endured such physical pain due to a certain degree of “self-loathing,” he responded: “Absolutely, there was self-loathing. I think on some level I felt I deserved [a beating] and wanted to be the one who got in the first punch.”
Elsewhere during the interview, Fraser discussed his changing physique. As George of the Jungle, Fraser was best known for his muscular shape, and he told the newspaper that “it made sense” for him to look that way “if all they were giving me to put on was a butt flap.”
Here Fraser was making reference to his George of the Jungle costume, which consisted of a single piece of leopard print fabric that covered his bottom half.
“I’m older now; I don’t look the way I did in those days, and I don’t necessarily want to,” Fraser continued. “But I’ve made peace with who I am now. And I’m glad that the work I can do is based in an emotional reality that’s not my own life but is one that I can strongly identify with.”
Last week, Fraser picked up his first Oscar nomination for his leading role in The Whale. In the pic, directed by Darren Aronofsky, Fraser plays Charlie, a severely overweight man who attempts to build a relationship with his daughter. The film has received some criticism for its use of fat suits as well as its overall depiction of obesity.
“You need to see the work,” Fraser told The Telegraph in response to critics. “All I can say is that I knew it had to be done with sensitivity and honesty. Putting quotation marks around Charlie – trying to sentimentalize him, or make him a circus act – would be nothing that I would want to be a part of.”