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    Brendan Fraser Is Back And We Couldn't Be More Excited

    The "shucks, ma'am" heard round the world.

    Brendan Fraser was one of the biggest movie stars of the late '90s and early 2000s, but a string of unfortunate circumstances caused the actor to take a step back from the spotlight. Now that he's back, the public is welcoming Fraser with open arms.

    Brendan Fraser doing an interview at Sirius XM
    Cindy Ord / Getty Images

    Here's what went down, and why people are excited for what's next:

    If you don't know, Fraser starred in some of the best films of the 1990s and the early 2000s.

    Brendan Fraser in a leather jacket
    Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

    I'm talking Bedazzled, George of the Jungle, and (of course) The Mummy. These were three of Fraser's biggest movies, and they showed how much range the guy had. He played awkward Elliott in Bedazzled, showed he could pull off physical comedy in George of the Jungle, then wrapped it all up with the classic action hero Rick O'Connell in The Mummy. By the time Y2K rolled around, Brendan Fraser was one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

    He was also a big part of many people's childhoods.

    Brendan Fraser at The Mummy premiere
    Gregg Deguire / WireImage / Via Getty Images

    After the first Mummy movie was such a hit, two more movies eventually hit theaters. The action-adventure series, combined with movies like George of the Jungle, Inkheart, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and Journey to the Center of the Earth, countless children grew up watching Fraser. Since those most excited for his return are millennials, a big part of the excitement comes from good old fashioned nostalgia. Especially because this is the good kind of nostalgia — the kind that gets Brendan Fraser more work.

    Suddenly, Fraser disappeared from Hollywood.

    Brendan Fraser with Afton Smith, his wife at the time
    Gregory Pace / FilmMagic / Via Getty Images

    Maybe "suddenly" isn't the right word. After all, he's appeared in at least one movie or TV show for every consecutive year since his career started in 1991. Still, at a certain point Brendan Fraser became one of those names where you say, "What ever happened to him?" In fact, when GQ decided to do a profile on the actor, they titled it, "What Ever Happened To Brendan Fraser?" 

    A lot of things led Fraser to retreat from the public eye. One was purely physical: years of stunt-heavy acting caused his body to break down. Fraser estimates he spent about seven years in and out of hospitals for various surgeries. After not landing the role of Superman in Superman Returns (before there was a change in directors), Fraser admits that he started to feel like a failure. After Journey to the Center of the Earth was rebooted without Fraser, that feeling only deepened. 

    There are other factors, such as a sexual assault Fraser was the victim of. After he accused Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, he faced backlash from the industry (Fraser believes he was blacklisted). The HFPA organizes the Golden Globes, to which Brendan Fraser was no longer invited. He also went through a divorce with Afton Smith and the death of his mother around this time. After all that, who would want to step onto a red carpet? It makes it even more impressive that Fraser has starred in at least one movie/show every single year, even if some roles were smaller than others.

    Fraser's kindness and authenticity were missed by fans, who called for his return.

    M. Caulfield / WireImage / Via Getty Images

    It was a supporting role in the show The Affair that really kicked off the Brendan Fraser renaissance (Frasenaissance? Brenaissance? Nailed it). You can check out Brendan's tense scene with Dominic West here. The conversation about where Fraser had been, what he was up to now, and how ready everyone was to see him come back quickly spread. People missed his unique performances that could be explosively action-packed one moment and slapstick-goofy the next. The slow, steady chant of "Fraser, Fraser, Fraser," was just starting to build in 2018, and it got louder and louder until one viral video in 2021 gave everyone faith that he really was returning.

    After a TikTok went viral, people saw Fraser in good spirits, excited to return to the more public side of Hollywood, and appreciative of his fans' support.

    Fraser with his iconic cowboy hat
    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    First things first: If you haven't seen the video yet, give it a watch

    The late 2000s and the 2010s put Brendan Fraser through a lot, but he knew to take time to himself. We're starting to see actors become more comfortable with telling the public they need time to themselves, such as Jennifer Lawrence and Rick Moranis. Fortunately, the more people know about what it takes to be a celebrity, there's also more sympathy towards the rich and famous that we tend to put on pedestals. This is clear in the way fans have rooted for Fraser rather than harp on him for not appearing in more films. 

    There has also been a change in the way we think and talk about mental health, and Fraser's honesty about his struggle with depression resonated with many. The relief of seeing Fraser excited to be in Scorsese's new movie gave us all a collective, "Shucks, ma'am."

    Why we're so excited for Fraser to be back.

    Brendan Fraser posing for portrait
    Daniel Zuchnik / WireImage / Via Getty images

    To fully understand what a ray of freaking sunshine that TikTok is, this 2016 interview puts things into perspective. Unfortunately, many turned the interview into a meme, not realizing that Fraser's mother had passed away just days before. In his GQ profile, Fraser said about that 2016 interview's format: "Damn, this is the way it's done now?" Trends, such as the way actors handle press, change often. Being honest enough with himself and the public to say that he needed some time to process that change (and everything else going on in his life) is what really makes us excited to see Brendan Fraser come back. 

    It's easy to see actors get excited about their projects and feel like it's all just part of their press tour, but who could doubt that Fraser is incredibly stoked (if a little nervous) to work with Scorsese after watching that TikTok? Being so up front and open about his depression, refusing to put on a mask and go through that 2016 interview burying his pain, that makes Fraser's current giddiness and excitement so authentic. Like he's someone you want to grab a drink with. Actually, Brendan Fraser prefers to shoot arrows and ride horses when he wants to feel calm, so he's even too cool for a simple beer.

    At the end of the day, my point is that very few men can pull of a cowboy hat. Sam Elliott. John Wayne. Clint Eastwood. Brendan Fraser. The hat became a staple of his wardrobe around 2018, when his GQ profile broke. Since then, it's almost a badge of all the man has gone through, survived, and been made stronger for. Welcome back, Brendan. Shucks, you got me all sentimental.