Brendan Fraser Reveals ‘Self-Loathing’ Led Him to Do His Own Stunts Filled With ‘Self-Sacrifice’

“On some level I felt I deserved [a beating], and wanted to be the one who got in the first punch,” Fraser said

Brendan Fraser at The Whale special screening
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Fresh off of an Oscar nomination for his performance in “The Whale,” Brendan Fraser is opening up about the “self-loathing” that led him to perform his own stunts early into his acting career — moments he says had an element of “self-sacrifice.”

As Fraser acted in action flicks like “The Mummy” and “George of the Jungle” at the start of his career, his discomfort with fame led him to perform his own stunts as a way to ensure “those physical performances, whether fighting, dancing or comedy, had an element of self-sacrifice.”

“Absolutely there was self-loathing,” Fraser said in a recent interview with The Telegraph. “I think on some level I felt I deserved [a beating], and wanted to be the one who got in the first punch.”

While this practice took a clear toll on Fraser’s mental health, it also irreparably impacted his physical health. He underwent serious surgeries including vocal cord repairs, a partial knee replacement and a lumbar laminectomy that removed a portion of bone from his lower back — all within a seven-year timeframe.

“I got a little banged up from years of doing my own stunts,” he said, adding that he “needed a surgical fix on the spine and the hinges.” “That took a lot out of me. I knew I would get better, but it took a long time.”

Fraser’s tendency to “self-sacrifice” his well-being for his projects as a way to truly earn his success, financial and otherwise, continued through shooting “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor,” the third of the trilogy, in 2007.

“Every morning I was putting myself together like a gladiator with muscle tape and ice packs, strapping on this Transformer-like exoskeleton just to get through the scene,” he recalled.

Coupled with allegations that the Hollywood Foreign Press’ former president Philip Berk sexually assaulted him at a lunch thrown in 2002, Fraser admits these extremely low moments have “brought [him] to a point in [his] life when [he] needed to retreat.”

“And I mean, I’m older now; I don’t look the way I did in those days, and I don’t necessarily want to,” he said. “But I’ve made peace with who I am now and I’m glad that the work I can do is based in an emotional reality that’s not my own life, but is one that I can strongly identify with.”