Brendan Fraser: We live in ‘a cynical world’ where ‘it’s so easy to be cruel’

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Brendan Fraser says his latest film, “The Whale,” has an important message.

“It’s about kindness and empathy,” the actor, 53, exclusively told Page Six Tuesday night at the movie’s premiere in New York City.

”We live in a cynical world and this film is the antidote. It’s easy and cheap to be cynical — it doesn’t take much intelligence at all — but to act with authenticity and dignity, that’s where the real work is.”

Fraser added that he believes we live “in times where it’s so easy to be cruel” to one another, which he’s experienced first-hand from movie critics and online trolls alike.

In the critically-acclaimed movie – which is already generating serious Oscar buzz – Fraser plays a reclusive and obese English teacher named Charlie who attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Ellie, portrayed by “Stranger Things” star Sadie Sink.

The actor previously shared that he can connect with the subject of obesity because of his eldest son, Griffin, who has autism.

“He just turned 20. He’s a big kid, he’s 6-foot-5. He’s got big hands and feet, a big body. I understand intimately what it is to be close to a person who lives with obesity,” Fraser told Interview magazine this week.

Brendan Fraser in "George of the Jungle."
Fraser showed off his comic chops in movies like “George of the Jungle.”
©Buena Vista Pictures/Courtesy

The role caps off a comeback of sorts for the actor, who hit it big in the 90s as a Hollywood hunk in movies like “The Mummy” and “George of the Jungle.”

Fraser seemingly paused his career due to a number of personal events, including the death of his mother, Carol, in 2016 and the news of his divorce from ex-wife Afton Smith going public in 2007.

Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz in "The Mummy Returns."
Fraser starred in three “Mummy” movies.
©Universal/Courtesy Everett Col

In 2018, Fraser also claimed he had been sexually assaulted by Philip Berk, the then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, in 2003.

The “Bedazzled” actor told GQ that the alleged incident led him to withdraw from the spotlight, admitting, “I became depressed. I was blaming myself and I was miserable.”

Fraser attended the premiere with two of his sons, Leland and Holden.

Getty Images

"The Whale" New York Screening

Fraser posed with the film’s director, Darren Aronofsky.


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Fraser also struggled with excruciating pain, derived from stunts in action movies, which resulted in him being in and out of the hospital and undergoing numerous surgeries over the course of seven years.

Though Fraser had hardships throughout his career, his return to acting has not gone unnoticed as “The Whale” has earned rave reviews.

The film – which got a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, reducing the actor to tears – is based on a stage play by Samuel D. Hunter and was optioned by the director, Darren Aronofsky, 10 years ago.

Brendan Fraser in "The Whale."
Fraser wore prosthetics for the role.
Courtesy Everett Collection

Aronofsky, 53, explained that the movie’s New York premiere date had an added meaning for him while also speaking to Page Six at the event.

“What’s really wild is that on the way up here, Sam texted me that ‘The Whale’ was playing 10 years ago on 42nd street,” he told us. “And I looked it up on my calendar. I saw the play 10 years ago tonight. How insane is that?”

The premiere also proved to be a family affair as Fraser posed on the red carpet with two of his sons: Leland, 16, and Holden, 18.

Aronofsky’s 16-year-old son, Henry, whom he shares with ex-Rachel Weisz, also attended the screening along with Sink, 20.

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