INDIANAPOLIS: The Heartland International Film Festival is featuring showings of decades-old classics as part of its 28th year, and the twenty-year-old feature is The Mummy. Showing at the Toby Theater in Newfields (a.k.a. The Indianapolis Museum of Art), was followed by star Brendan Fraser participating in a sit-down chat with a packed house after the full-length showing.
“It took a special approach,” he said, “where funny is serious, serious is funny.” During and right after the shoot, Fraser said, “I thought it would have broad appeal, but I didn’t know if it would have legs.”
It had legs; The Mummy grossed $416 billion in 1999 dollars, and the three movies in the franchise have topped $1.41 billion over the past two decades.
“I love strong narratives, strong characters. ‘Will the guy get the girl?’ Or, “‘Will the bad guy get what’s coming to him?’ The Mummy is just a story about a guy who misses his lady and does all sorts of things to get her back. Isn’t that sweet?”
Fraser says that acting amid special effects like the blue-screen shots that kept crumbling buildings from crushing the cast can’t distract the actor from playing his part.
“You have to live in it, feel it: the romance, the history, the playfulness – it works [on screen] only if you absolutely believe in it.” For actors, at least, “Acting isn’t hard. Just behave the way did with your invisible friends when you were nine years old.” He grinned. “I used to get in trouble for doing that; now they pay me for it.”
Looking back, watching his old movies is an other-worldly experience for him. When he’s watching, he says, “I’m looking at someone else. I’m not looking at myself..”
He gets nostalgic over each movie experience.
“It’s not like a play, where you perform it thirty times a month, maybe a hundred times or more. When a movie’s in the can, it’s over.” And looking back, “Twenty years is over in a moment.”
A nine-year-old girl in the audience asked if he always knew he wanted to be an actor and if he could offer her some advice on choosing acting as a career.
“Yes, I did,” he said, admitting that he always wanted to act. Then, to the youngster,
“You go do it. There might be some people around you who aren’t on board with your decision, but you must believe in yourself.” He seemed to be looking at the little girl’s family as he gave her the last line of advice: “And you do,” he said, “have to have talent.”
One last question came in about Fraser’s near-invisibility on social media. “Basically, I’m lazy, or other times, I’m too busy.” He paused, looked around the room. “A little mystery can go a long way.”
The Heartland International Film Festival is hosting parties, roundtables, and forums. The group is showing over two full-length hundred films, plus dozens of shorts, at four locations on ten screens in the Indianapolis area, through October 20.
Catch Brendan Fraser in his new DC Comics television Series Doom Patrol: