Actors and actresses every so often have what Hollywood likes to call a comeback. John Travolta, Ke Huy Quan, Sharon Stone, Robert Downey Jr., Rob Lowe, Betty White, Ellen Degeneres, Patrick Dempsey and of late Brendan Fraser have all claimed their “comeback” status.
Once the actors and actresses emerge into the sphere of Hollywood’s influence again, they often have to withstand the entertainment reporters asking: “what happened”? And more often than not, the actor or actress explains that they never really stopped working or they chose their personal life over a public one.
But perhaps what each of these inspiring freelancers can teach us is the gift of perseverance and how it can pay off in life and our careers. Sometimes we have to take a pause, build up our experience, and start from scratch, even shift into a new profession, whether that transition was welcome or not. It is that shift, that alternative path, that enables us to reemerge back into the spotlight at a more optimal time.
Brendan Fraser’s Oscar-winning performance in the film The Whale has been hailed as his comeback — a word, he says, that “doesn’t hurt my feelings.” But it’s not the one he’d choose, according to an AP report.
“If anything, this is a reintroduction more than a comeback,” Fraser says in the AP report. “It’s an opportunity to reintroduce myself to an industry, who I do not believe forgot me as is being perpetrated. I’ve just never been that far away.”
What can Brendan Fraser’s persistence teach us?
While the press may describe Fraser’s career as taking “a hit” in the early 2000s, he never really stopped working. For every freelance ghostwriter out there that can relate, sometimes working behind the scenes provides lasting lessons and experiences that you can bring to future work. Personal setbacks like divorce, illness and a lack of frequent or highly-paid work can humble you.
In the case of Fraser, he did take on “smaller roles” that would lead him to the right place at the right time. He had a role in the TV series “The Affair” in 2016, which led to other big projects, according to the entertainment press.
The old mantra that it is never too late to shine is yet another lesson that Fraser’s reintroduction can teach us. His roles became increasingly enriching in his 50s, proving that it’s never too late to achieve success in your chosen field.
It’s easy to think that if you haven’t made it by a certain age, it’s never going to happen, but Fraser’s story shows that success or a reemergence can come at any stage of your career.
We all have personal struggles
Mental health can impact all of us. When we are self-employed there can be a lack of support and an innate fear that if we take time off to heal, we could lose everything we have worked for: our career, our reputation, our home and even our relationships.
Brendan Fraser’s absence from the Hollywood spotlight was due in part to a series of personal struggles, it has been reported, including a painful divorce, physical injuries, and mental health issues.
There are also reports of an alleged sexual assault on Fraser revealed in a GQ interview, in which the experience according to the actor had messed with his sense of “who I was and what I was doing.”
Work, he said, following the alleged assault, “withered on the vine for me. In my mind, at least, something had been taken away from me.”
He has long wondered if the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had blacklisted him for reporting the assault, allegedly conducted by an ex-President of the HFPA during a luncheon in 2003. The said HFPA member has since been blacklisted by the very organisation behind the Golden Globes for a reported racist email he sent.
Karma has a way of evening the scales and striking back. Fraser, in this case, may see Karma’s reprisal of his alleged attacker’s actions as welcoming, albeit a bit late. Nonetheless, Fraser did not keep his experience unknown and battled through victorious.
Fraser’s story, therefore, highlights the importance of taking care of your mental health and seeking help when needed. Mental health issues can affect anyone, including successful Hollywood actors, and it’s important to prioritise self-care.
Overall, Brendan Fraser’s Hollywood reemergence can teach us the importance of persistence, never giving up, the fact that it’s never too late to achieve success and the significance of taking care of our mental health.
He has also proven that if you keep doing what you love, even on a smaller scale or behind the scenes, it’s worth it.
Want to stream a Brendan Fraser film this weekend?
Fraser has tackled roles in practically every genre, from comedy to drama, fantasy to animation, so there’s something for the whole family.
- “Bedazzled” (2000) – Fraser played the lead role of Elliot, a man who makes a deal with the devil in exchange for seven wishes.
- “The Mummy Returns” (2001) – Fraser reprised his role as adventurer Rick O’Connell in this sequel to “The Mummy.”
- “Crash” (2004) – Fraser had a supporting role as a district attorney in this Oscar-winning ensemble drama.
- “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (2008) – Fraser starred as a scientist who goes on an adventure to the centre of the earth in this 3D adventure film.
- “Inkheart” (2008) – Fraser played a bookbinder who can bring characters from books to life in this fantasy adventure film.
- “The Affair” (2016-2018) – Fraser had a recurring role in this Golden Globe-winning TV series as a prison inmate who becomes a writer.
- “Doom Patrol” (2019-2021) – Fraser played the role of Robotman in this DC Comics TV series about a group of misfit superheroes.
- “No Sudden Move” (2021) – Fraser had a supporting role in this crime drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh.
- “The Whale” (2022) – Fraser stars in this drama film as a reclusive professor who is trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. In 2023 he would win an Oscar for Best Actor for this role.
Want to learn more about another amazing comeback story? Listen to Ke Huy Quan’s personal story of hope from his childhood days fleeing Vietnam to landing his first childhood Hollywood role to his shift behind the camera to winning an Oscar.