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The Surprising Connection Doom Patrol's Brendan Fraser Has With His Robotman Performer

DC's Doom Patrol went from being a relatively unknown comic book team of "heroes" to a television phenomenon in pretty short order. The first two seasons proved massively successful with fans, and now a third is on the way to HBO Max as a result, continuing the misadventures of Dr. Niles Caulder's (Timothy Dalton) wonky science experiments. The series unorthodox approach to superhero storytelling has kept audiences tuning in for its fresh comedic tone and surprisingly poignant character beats. Of course, none of those elements would've clicked had it not been for the incredible cast of characters who made the material work. Leading that cast is Brendan Fraser as Cliff Steele, better known as Robotman.

Don't let his cold, metal exterior fool you. Steele is the emotional heart of the show, and — counterintuitively — one of the more human characters on the Doom Patrol roster. Anchoring a super team like the Doom Patrol is a mammoth undertaking, and it doesn't fall squarely on Fraser's shoulders In fact, he doesn't even wear the suit on camera, but rather provides the voice. The actual, physical Robotman is played by Riley Shanahan, a man who, fascinatingly, shares much more than a character in common with his co-star.

Brendan Fraser and Riley Shanahan have quite a bit in common

During DC's second FanDome event on September 12, 2020, the cast of "Doom Patrol" took part in a virtual panel to discuss their time on the show thus far. One of the guests at the online convention was Riley Shanahan, who discussed his acting process when it comes to bringing Cliff Steele to life. He mentioned that he doesn't necessarily make the role his own, but rather acts through a "Brendan Fraser filter," so that the vocals and mannerisms better mesh together. He brushed up on classic Fraser performances such as "The Mummy" in preparation. Apparently, the two stars are cut from the same acting cloth, as he later discovered.

Shanahan went on to reveal that he and his Robotman partner attended the same, small liberal arts college back in the day, and studied under the same mentor during their tenures there. As if that wasn't coincidental enough, Shanahan and Fraser also share the same birthday: December 3, in case you wanted to send something. It's as if these two were destined from the start to work collaboratively and make one of DC comics' least notable characters a fan favorite on the small screen. 

The DC universe works in mysterious ways.