If you were a person attracted to men born between the years 1980 and 2000, there is a very large chance that your sexual awakening came courtesy of Brendan Fraser. The actor, who got his start in the early 1990s boarding school drama School Ties, originated a certain type of wide-eyed, washboard-abbed himbo in the late 90s and early 2000s, appearing in such iconic films as Encino Man, George of the Jungle, Bedazzled, and The Mummy franchise.
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Unfortunately, at the apex of his popularity, Fraser fell upon hard times. He suffered multiple injuries as a result of stunts he performed in The Mummy, causing him to undergo surgeries. He got divorced. And in 2003, as he later revealed in a 2018 GQ profile, he was allegedly sexually assaulted by Philip Berk, the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and believes he was blacklisted for years as a result of bringing the allegations to the organization. (Berk denied this to GQ.)
For decades, Fraser had vanished from the public eye, reemerging only to appear in listicles cruelly mocking his career demise or his physical appearance. And though he has had a slew of highly critically acclaimed roles in prestige dramas like The Affair, he’s never quite had his next leading man moment, despite a growing campaign on TikTok in support of him — that is, until now.
At the debut of Darren Aronofsky’s latest film The Whale at the Venice Film Festival last weekend, Fraser received a six-minute standing ovation for his role as Charlie, a 600-pound man mired in guilt and shame over having left his family. In a clip that went viral, he’s seen visibly overcome with emotion by the expression of support from the audience and tries to leave the stage, only to be ushered back on by the applause.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) September 4, 2022
Not everyone is happy about the fact that Fraser is making his comeback with The Whale. The film has been panned by critics, many who felt it stigmatizes and mocks fat people, and fat activists have expressed consternation about the fact that Fraser donned a prosthetic suit for the role, rather than Aronofsky simply casting a fat actor.
“The discourse around this movie is already toxic sludge and it’s not coming out for months,” Michael Hobbes, cohost of the health-fad debunking podcast Maintenance Phase, wrote on Twitter, linking to reviews of the film that make reference to Fraser’s “Jabba the Hutt-type flesh” or his “slopping jowls.” “Guy’s been through a lot and I wish him all the best, but please listen to fat people when they say that this movie is harmful.”
Nonetheless, while the movie itself may not be a winner, everyone can uniformly agree that seeing Fraser back on the big screen will be a welcome sight — and that such a triumphant comeback couldn’t have happened to a nicer himbo.
This week on Don’t Let This Flop, Rolling Stone‘s podcast about internet culture and news, cohosts Brittany Spanos and Ej Dickson discuss Fraser’s comeback and crown him Himbo of the Week, as well as parse Don’t Worry, Darling and the spit seen ’round the world, Lea Michele’s insane New York Times profile, and yet another moral panic about Target. They also sit down with Chrissy Chlapecka, the content creator who originated the bimbo trend on TikTok.
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