Brendan Fraser: Surprisingly Great At Playing Villains
“Brendan Fraser is doing great” is one of those wonderful phrases that feel like having warm tea with honey poured into your ear, which may or may not be a metaphor depending on your bedroom kink. In any case, after years of absence from the public eye, Fraser has recently finished shooting a Martin Scorsese movie alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, John Lithgow, and Meth Damon, AND will be the lead in Darren Aronofsky’s next undoubtedly bizarre masterpiece.
It’s the sort of news that should be whispered while hugging a loved one because while Fraser’s middle name is “James,” it really should be something beginning with an F seeing as the actor has over the years become the internet’s favorite parasocial BFF.
Is it because of The Mummy? Fraser’s performance in it definitely contributed to his current popularity, but there’s more to it, like how his face is friendship-shaped. He just has an aura of humble earnestness about him. When he learned how his fans couldn’t wait to see him in Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon he literally choked up and said, Canadianly, “Shucks, ma’am!” It’s just impossible to not root for the guy because he is just so rootable (in the non-Australian sex-slang sense … Although, that one too … Cause, hey, niceness is damn sexy.) This is why some people were surprised when it was recently announced that Fraser will be playing one of Batman’s most twisted villains.
A few weeks back, we learned that Fraser has been cast as the DC supervillain Firefly in the upcoming Batgirl movie. Originally a Z-lister Mysterio wannabe, Firefly was later reimagined as a sociopathic pyromaniac deriving the sort of thrills some people only get from having warm tea with honey poured into their ear from burning stuff down.
If you’re wondering how one of the nicest guys in Hollywood will properly convey this sort of darkness and intensity, it’s only because you haven’t seen his OTHER villain role from the 2019 Indian film Line of Descent. And, really, you’re only hurting yourself by not watching it:
The movie is a character-driven crime drama about the Delhi mafia with a plot somewhat reminiscent of Succession and, most importantly, co-starring Fraser as a side-character arms dealer named Charu. How to best explain his character …? Imagine if Nicolas Cage went into the teleporter from The Fly while holding a bag of cocaine, came out a baby, and was later raised by ‘80s-era Jack Nicholson. He only has about four scenes in the movie, but they must have accounted for like 90% of the film’s budget because Fraser ate every last bit of scenery whenever he was on screen until there was nothing left but him in all his tattoo-sleeved glory.
Charu is what Jared Leto tried to do with his Joker: You never really know what the character is feeling or thinking to the point that whenever you’re in his presence, you’d place the same odds on him either stabbing you in the neck or giving you a shoulder rub. Also, like half of Charu’s dialogue is just “F**k you/him.” Fraser’s performance is the absolute highlight of the movie because 1) “Yay, Brendan Fraser” and 2) It’s actually unnerving, and not just because it’s a beloved nice guy actor playing against type.
This is real, A-game villain craft, and if Fraser brings even half of that to Firefly, he will instantly create a cinematic supervillain icon. Also, it will be nice to read about “Firefly” on the internet without it inevitably and depressingly being followed by “still not resurrected for a second season.”
Follow Cezary on Twitter.
Top Image: ZEE5