This interview originally appeared on NextMovie.
Brendan Fraser is not quite what you would expect. Just trust us: Whatever it is you’re expecting from the star of “Dudley Do-Right” and “Blast From the Past,” he’s decidedly not it. For a guy who has starred in so many family friendly films, Fraser is pleasantly quirky and candid. He’s also made a few unexpected moves in his career: Alongside a starring voice role in another one of those mainstream family movies (“Escape From Planet Earth”), Fraser has another decidedly darker, quirkier film coming out this month, “Stand Off.”
As Fraser described it to us, “It’s a family story about what happens when people put the guns down and actually talk to each other. There’s a way forward, peacefully. Open a dialogue, try that. Logical discourse, how bout that. See what happens.” Alternately: It’s about an Irish fish market robbery gone horribly wrong, with a few familial mishaps along the way (a mobster tries to kidnap a baby, Fraser’s character may or may not be the father of the perfect stranger holding up the fish market, etc.).
NextMovie chatted on the phone with Fraser ahead of the release of “Stand Off” and convinced him to tell us his favorite movie title pun, who he wouldn’t want in a bomb shelter with him and for which skill you have to “squeeze your buttcheeks together and give it everything you’ve got.”
Let’s talk about the movies!
Let’s! I saw “Stand Off” last night and “Escape From Planet Earth” earlier this week. They were both a lot of fun.
I was on your IMDb page earlier and it seems like you have about a thousand projects coming up.
Thousands? Thousands! Gosh. Oh, that’s right. I cloned myself. It’s working out pretty well. A few of the Brendans are pretty unstable, one of them, their eyeball pops out, but… One just combusted.
Anyway, IMDb. Gosh, yeah, you know, everyone — do you think it’s interesting how everyone automatically stampedes to that website?
Well, it’s pretty definitive, which is nice.
Nah. Nah, it’s not. It could be better. This is not a critique of IMDb, don’t get me wrong, but I think that it’s relied upon as a go-to when there are so many websites out there, including your own! There needs to be a restriction that provides for users to have more accurate information.
Are there huge inaccuracies on yours?
I haven’t looked it up in such a long while, but I do know that very often heresay becomes chipped in stone. That’s why you maybe should wait for the proof to be in the pudding.
Do you ever Google yourself?
Why would I do a thing like that?
I don’t know, I Google myself.
How does that work out for you?
Little weird, huh? You think? That whole Pandora’s box! You don’t open it! You get in there and run around with a butterfly net and hope for the best.
Or even worse is image searches, like, “Oh, no, I really made that face, didn’t I?”
Yeah, you did. Privacy is finished. that’s it. Sorry, kids!
So you don’t Google yourself.
Why would I do a thing like that!
It’s like eating cake when you know you shouldn’t. You do it anyway.
Why would you not eat cake?! Come on. It’s a harmless little piece of cake, an easily digested, mass consumable tasty thing, much like “Escape From Planet Earth.” Something everyone wants to see! You’ve gotta take the kids to see something! Perfect! I’ve got kids, they’re gonna laugh at it, they’re gonna think it’s the best thing ever. Would I take them to see “Stand Off”? Nah, I don’t think so. Not for them. I don’t think they’d understand the dialect, they might not understand that that is actually English that they’re speaking, though it’s in Irish.
So I read somewhere that “Stand Off” was originally called “Fish Market,” or that that was a working title.
You read that on the webbernet? It was called “A Whole Lotta Sole.”
That’s right. That’s a good pun.
It is. The sole wasn’t just a piece of fish. It was a whole lotta heart and soul. That’s what [director] Terry George presented.
In that spirit, is there an alternate pun title that you’d present for any other movie?
Alternate pun title? I feel like I’m on an English game show now.
That’s my side job.
That’s not a fair question! Come now! What, like a naughty one like (chuckling) “Saving Private’s Ryans”? [Ed.: We’re pretty sure he meant “Saving Ryan’s Privates.”]
In “Escape From Planet Earth,” you play a superhero, and you were a hero-type in “Dudley Do-Right” too. Any tips for a convincing superhero voice?
Well, I’ve learned a few things: Take everything out of your pockets. Lose the belt. Unbutton your top button. If you have boots or shoes on, lose them too. Arch your back and stand your ground, squeeze your buttcheeks together, and give it everything you’ve got.
They’ll never see your face, they’ll never see your mug unless there’s some faux b-roll. However, when you’re working in animation there are hundreds and hundreds of people using that recording to inform what they’re going to do, which is an interesting collaboration.
Is it strange to be alone for voice work?
Yeah, but this group speaks for itself. As long as you know who the other players are, then you get an idea of how their characters are. If you’re worth your weight in salt as an actor, then it’s like being a session player as a musician. You do your thing, everyone does their parts, then they mix it all together and we have something great.
That was a very Serious Actor thing to say. Like your body is your instrument.
There’s one way of looking at it, and then there’s another way, which is just drink a bunch of Red Bull and go for it, dude.
You’ve been in several standoff/heist movies. Have they trained you for a real life heist situation?
You mean hostage situation in terms of the film “Airheads,” stuff like that, or like “Stand Off,” which is like “Dog Day Afternoon” in a fish market except there’s a pound of fish, a tommy gun and a baby and a young man claiming to be my son.
What would I do? For one thing I’d comply, honestly. And I would do what I needed in order to remain as safe as possible so that I could wake up safe the next morning and be safe and sound. I hope you’re not asking this because you want to plan something… Are you planning on knocking off a bank anytime soon? You’re just going to tell them puns and then steal from them? Woody Allen did that. “I have a gud.” “It’s an n!” “No, it’s a d!”
They wouldn’t even know until it’s too late. In “Escape From Planet Earth,” you are an alien. And, obviously, there are new “Star Wars” movies being made. If you had the chance to write yourself into “Star Wars,” what character would you be?
Man, that’s a hard question. I think if I indulge my inner 7-year-old, or uh, be like an adult, I’d have to go with maybe a baddie. I’d like to try my hand at being a baddie.
Would you wear a mask, or go CGI?
That would be up to George, wouldn’t it?
But if you wrote it yourself.
It would definitely have to involve the use of serious pyrotechnics. And a really cool vehicle.
“Blast From the Past” style, what would you keep in your bomb shelter?
Not Christopher Walken. What would I keep? Uh, this is one of those lost island things. What would I keep in a bomb shelter…a sense of humor.
What would your porn name be?
Mirst pet would be Bear, and the street I grew up on… (laughing) Oh. It’s Haalbeck. Yo, yo, my name is Bear Haalbeck!
You’re German now.
More Dutch, actually.
As a kid I lived in Holland and Europe a little bit. I picked a street that was more interesting to make me sound like a gay superhero.