Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Brendan Fraser Explains How Matt Damon Helped Him Land A Role In School Ties

When "School Ties" was released in 1992, it met with very mixed reviews. Despite featuring a who's who of up-and-coming actors like Brendan Fraser, Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Chris O'Donnell, and Cole Hauser, the heavy subject matter concerning antisemitism and prejudices didn't attract a lot of fans. But while the film bombed at the box office, only making $14 million against its $18 million budget (via Box Office Mojo), it has since gone on to be considered one of Damon and Fraser's best movies.

As it was Fraser's first feature film, its theme resonated with him. "It's a film about wanting to belong," Fraser told GQ. "Sooner or later we've all felt like we've had our nose pressed up against the glass, and we've wanted to be a part of what was on the inside and there was something keeping us out. And that's who David Greene was. He was good enough, but he wasn't accepted because of his fundamental existence."

Although they start out as friends, Damon's character, Charlie Dillon, ends up butting heads with Fraser's David due to the former's insecurities and his jealousy of the latter's accomplishments on the football field. But the dynamic between the two actors was nothing like their on-screen counterparts, with Fraser feeling strongly that Damon helped him get the role, without even realizing it.

Damon helped him feel more confident during the screen test

In his interview with GQ, Brendan Fraser recalled the time he auditioned for "School Ties" as a young, relatively new actor alongside Matt Damon, who had more on-screen experience at that point in time. "My screen test for it ["School Ties"] was with Matt, and I knew that I needed to match pitch with him. I wasn't really certain how working for the camera differentiated from what I was accustomed to, having just — at that time of my life — come out of training in a conservatory," Fraser told GQ. "And I also knew that if I just listened to what Matt was saying, I was getting across what needed to be acted and conveyed. And I think that's because he's such a good actor. He makes you better. And I'm pretty sure that has a lot to do with why I got the job."

In an interview shortly after "School Ties" came out, Damon revealed that he'd actually been reading for Fraser's role of David for 10 months until they did a screen test and decided he was a better fit to play the movie's antagonist. "They call me and they go, well, you know, why don't you try the role of Charlie Dillon?" he told Bobbie Wygant. "And so I had one night to work on Charlie Dillon."

The performances by both actors have been recognized over the years, and the film has gone on to be of significant cultural influence for its message against hate. Damon went on to win an Oscar for "Good Will Hunting," and with talk of Oscar potential for Fraser's upcoming "The Whale," apparently we can thank Damon for helping make him a better actor.