Brendan Fraser Talks The Joys Of Living Outside Of Hollywood, Despite The Brenaissance

Brendan Fraser after accepting SAG Award for The Whale.
(Image credit: (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images))

It’s been a big few months for Brendan Fraser, who has earned plenty of laud and awards nods for his role as Charlie In Darren Aronfsky’s The Whale. The move has marked what has been dubbed a “Brennaissance” in Hollywood, but it’s not actually Tinseltown where the actor lives. In fact, he spoke recently about his break from acting and his move to upstate New York.

In an interview with Willie Geist, Brendan Fraser took the longtime TV host around his large property, where he likes putzing around, taking walks, gathering firewood and shooting bows and arrows at targets; a practice he started when injuries from movie gigs left him unable to workout. He's not the only actor to have a home away from Hollywood, as other big actors like Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila Alves and even Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky have settled outside of Los Angeles.

While being shown around, Geist asked the actor, “Is part of the appeal of this place that it’s so far away from your business?” For Fraser, there are joys to be found outside of the glamor of red carpets. 

Yes. It feels good to be removed. I’m a real firewood guy, probably a little bit too much.

The actor took Geist around his upstate New York property for an in-depth Sunday Today interview, where the two spoke about living outside of Hollywood, but also what led the actor to step away from the limelight. He noted he’s “never been that far away, but [he] did step out of the spotlight for a spell there.” 

He also spoke of working out “some things” in his life and taking “stock” of who he is and what his “aspirations are.” It’s not that The Mummy star ever really stopped acting. But his box office career was waning more than a decade ago as movies like Inkheart and Furry Vengeance flopped.

Fraser slowed down, tackled some TV projects like the History series Texas Rising. He appeared in roles in The Affair and Trust that didn’t put him front and center but were well thought of. His take on this trajectory?

I was really out of the gate early. Sometimes in competition on opening weekends with my own project. I was also kind of on a merry-go-round and I wanted the music to stop. It can get to be a bit much. Then, you get off the merry-go-round and then you’re like, ‘Gee, it’s quiet around her; maybe I should get back to work?’

Then roles in the now-defunct Batgirl and The Whale came along. While one of those didn’t pan out as HBO Max figured out its business model, The Whale has led the actor to be a prominent name on the 2023 Oscar nominations list. He’s already straight up won Best Actor at the Black Film Critics Circle Awards, the TIFF Tribute Awards, The Critics Choices Movie Awards and with the Hollywood Critics Association and other similar organizations in varying states. He also recently landed a SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a male in a lead role.

Fraser has said the praise and attention doesn’t make him “comfortable,” but if a person is really going to revitalize his or her career, it’s nice to see it happen in such a notable manner.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Reality TV fan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. Theme park junkie. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.