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The Mummy Stunt That Caused Brendan Fraser To Black Out

The Brendan Fraser renaissance is here. The actor was one of the biggest stars in the late '90s and early '00s, starring in game-changing hits like "The Mummy" trilogy and "George of the Jungle." Since then, Fraser has worked consistently (via IMDb) but never quite found the same level of fame he did in his earlier work. However, Fraser's career is now getting a new chapter with upcoming roles in Martin Scorsese's next film, "Killers of the Flower Moon," and Darren Aronofsky's "The Whale."

Fraser spoke about his hiatus from the spotlight in a 2018 GQ interview, revealing that part of the reason for stepping away was due to damage from years of stunt work. As a result, Fraser spent seven years in and out of the hospital undergoing major operations to fix injuries he sustained. He told GQ that "by the time I did the third 'Mummy' picture in China [...] I was put together with tape and ice. Screw-cap ice packs and downhill-mountain-biking pads because they're small and light and they can fit under your clothes. I was building an exoskeleton for myself daily." 

However, the dangerous realities of stunt work were something Fraser had already become familiar with in the first installment of "The Mummy" franchise. Just two years ago, Fraser opened up about how one stunt from the 1999 movie actually made him black out.

A fake hanging suddenly became real

In a special Entertainment Weekly interview celebrating the 20th anniversary of "The Mummy," Fraser revealed that, shockingly, he got "fully choked-out." This happened during a scene early in the movie where his character, adventurer Rick O'Connell, is hanged by the neck in a prison courtyard. Fraser explained, "Rick is dangling at the end of the rope, and he's such a tough guy that his neck didn't snap. We did the wide shot, which was the stuntman going down, and he had a harness on, and it looked great. Then they've got to go in [for a close-up]."

Fraser was then needed to film the close-up shots. Although he was doing his best "choking acting" in the first take, director Stephen Sommers wanted the noose to appear tighter, so requested another. Fraser told EW, "The stuntman took up the tension on the rope, and I went up on the balls of my feet, then I guess he took the tension up again." 

In a horrifying turn of events, this decision led "The Mummy" star to black out while filming. Fraser recalled, "I'm not a ballerina, I can't stand on my tip-toes. I remember seeing the camera start to pan around, and then it was like a black iris at the end of a silent film. It was like turning down the volume switch on your home stereo, like the Death Star powering down. I regained consciousness and one of the EMTs was saying my name."

We're glad Fraser has been able to pivot to less physically intensive roles in recent years. Like the rest of Fraser's fans, we could not be more thrilled to see this actor on track to regain the stardom he so rightfully deserves.