Brendan Fraser was the hero of lots of bit tentpole movies like The Mummy and Journey to the Center of the Earth. He played George of the Jungle and Dudley Do-Right but it took until 2019 for him to play a bona fide comic book superhero. And now it’s only his voice.
On Doom Patrol, Fraser plays the live-action Cliff Steele, a race car driver who “dies” in an automobile accident. His brain is placed in the mechanical body of Robotman, and Fraser provides the voice for that. Fraser was at TCA for Doom Patrol and Showbiz Junkies spoke with him. Doom Patrol premieres Friday, February 15, 2019 on DC Universe.
You’ve done so many movies with things that aren’t there, like The Mummy, Looney Tunes, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. That was sort of at the dawn of this CGI world. Did you sort of learn these skills on the ground floor as the industry was learning how to make the effects?
Brendan Fraser: “Jon Burton at ILM really had the wizard’s hat on back on ’97-98. He was bringing together the best of what was on offer in CGI, stepping up and saying, ‘We can do anything and you’ll believe it.’ The reality is yeah, this technology can keep reinventing itself as it does to the point where anything is possible, but none of it works unless whoever’s performing it believes in what they’re doing. So essentially it’s just committed acting is what it should come down to. Believe in the circumstances of the world or whatever the effect is, and then having a collaborative trust with a nameless, faceless CGI artist who can create the effects.”
I always thought you had a special skill at that which some other actors didn’t quite fully have.
Brendan Fraser: “Thank you. Imaginary friends.”
How does that come into play when you’re doing the voice-over for Cliff?
Brendan Fraser: “It’s all on the page. This story is unique. It’s absolutely chapter and page, the major beats of the Morrison comics from the early ‘90s, late ‘80s. So of the fans who we hope we make and who do know that source material, they should be pleased that we’re staying true to it.”
How long is Cliff going to put off looking for his now adult daughter?
Brendan Fraser: “I could tell you, but then I have to kill you.”
That’s the way I want to go, killed by Brendan Fraser.
Brendan Fraser: “Just keep watching.”
Television has offered you some diverse roles in The Affair, Trust and this. How has that been for you to embrace these eclectic roles?
Brendan Fraser: “Diversity has always been the touchstone for me, ever since I started to be involved and lucky enough to be a part of this industry. It’s important to try and reinvent yourself if you can. I like to stay challenged. I don’t know if this is television or that is either anymore, streaming.”
If you had to describe your career, how would you describe it?
Brendan Fraser: “Diversity. I’ve had a diverse career and the good fortune to be allowed to carry on, win, lose or draw.”
Is it really just good fortune?
Brendan Fraser: “Being prepared and in the right place at the right time helps too.”
Do you have a strategy?
Brendan Fraser: “Keep working.”
Do you take everything?
Brendan Fraser: “No, I want to be challenged and I want to stay in projects that essentially, like we all want, to see.”
What would your dream job be?
Brendan Fraser: “I’m pretty happy with this project right now. I’m certain that I’ll take a close look at whatever comes my way, whether it’s a streaming service, television, feature film, independent, voice-over. I like to keep busy.”
What are you watching right now?
Brendan Fraser: “I have to think about this. I don’t watch much television, to tell you the truth.”
School Ties turned 25 just over a year ago. Have you thought about how relevant that still is?
Brendan Fraser: “It was relevant them. It was set in the ‘50s for a reason because it let people say, ‘Hey, that was then, not now.’ Let’s not forget that at the time it came out, Los Angeles was on fire after Rodney King. Really, how much have we learned since then?”
And the clique of privileged boys policing themselves.
Brendan Fraser: “It’s dangerous to be in a society of your peers. William Golding’s Lord of the Flies may have said that [too].”