Inkheart comes to life with Brendan Fraser portraying the father whose reading brings his child’s books to life. Inkheart is author Cornelia Funke’s literary phenomenon that not only debuts on screen with Fraser in the role of â€˜Mo, the actor’s persona inspired Funke’s character itself.
Fraser is an actor’s actor
Fraser spoke about Inkheart, being a father to young boys and his astounding acting career that began with Encino Man and continued through The Mummy series and Academy Award nominated films such as Gods and Monsters with Ian McClellan. Now Fraser is starring alongside another Oscar winner, The Queen herself, Helen Mirren in Inkheart.
The star found personal tests abounding in Inkheart, but admits they are pale compared to the courage to expose oneself to an audience as an actor. “It’s always a challenge. Filmmaking’s a challenge, rising to the occasion to do it. To have the courage to have a film career in the first place is tricky, let alone one where you have to buy into alternative fantasy worlds,” Fraser says. “As long as you believe in what you’re doing your audience will too.”
Fraser’s rules of surviving Hollywood
Fraser maintains a level of integrity that is at times unheard of in this town. How does he do it? “I moved,” Fraser says and laughs hysterically. Seriously, the actor is wheezing he is laughing so hard. “I got out of dodge.”
Fraser continues, “What can I say, I have great parents. They encouraged me to find what it is that I love and do that. Hey, as parting wisdom goes, I think that’s important,” he says.
“On top of that, I will never loose sight of this, I’m expecting someone to walk into the room and say ‘Fraser, the bus tubs are piling up, get in there.’ You know? I get it. I’m grateful for what I do. I’m now where I’m grateful for that time when I’m not working to be with my boys. That’s infinitely more satisfying than biting my fingernails wondering if I’m going to work again. I’ve reshuffled my priorities. After turning 40, (his voice gets deep) I’m old!”
Inkheart weaves a story within a story mode of fiction that immediately charmed its readers upon the book’s 2003 release. “It’s about a little girl who’s trying to reunite her family. That’s Meggie, played by an upcoming wonderful talent in Eliza Bennett. I think that the fantasy element is important in this film because it allows for its audience to take the journey in a way that we believe that it is the real here and now that we live in,” Fraser says. “We know that since it’s a work of fiction, it allows us to buy into that reality just as in every good story, every good book that’s out there. The quality of that is a testament to the authorship Cornelia Funke, who’s needless to say, just prolific.”
Fraser as muse
Fraser was actually the inspiration for the character of Mo when the author put pen to page. When Funke informed him, he was taken aback. “Blown away, astonished, I can only say I’m really humbled by it. Cornelia wrote this novel – let me back up,” Fraser stops eager to tell the entire story.
“I got a copy of this novel, it was written, inscribed, ‘Dear Brendan, thank you for inspiring the character of Mo. I hope that one day you are able to read this book aloud to your kids, Sincerely yours, Cornelia Funke.’ I didn’t know who she was. I wasn’t aware. It was a book she had written. I went to my nearest Google and she has done a lot of work. I was flattered. I found it a very, very interesting story,” Fraser says. “We, in literature and in films, we’ve seen the convention of things coming from other worlds into our real world. Going back to Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court – – fantasy.”
The power of his character’s command to bring literary figures to life is not lost on Fraser in capturing Mo. “She had chosen to base this character on me as he is known in the world of the book. He has an ability to bring things to life by virtue of the fact that when he reads aloud from a novel. Elements arrive into the world he is in. There’s a trade off. Sometimes things disappear from his world too and in the unfortunate case of this story, it happens to be his wife,” Frasier says. He hopes the inspiration stops on the written page. “In reading the novel, goodness, I hope that nothing that like that ever happens to anyone (laughs) of my family.”
Up next…Brendan on working alongside CGI and his utter passion for Funke’s literary talents.