Brendan Fraser says he “nearly” died on ‘The Mummy’ set

Brendan Fraser has recalled in a new interview the time that he “nearly” died while filming The Mummy.

The star of the 1999 remake of the original 1931 action adventure film has described in new detail the incident, which caused him to momentarily pass out after being “choked” accidentally.

He told The Kelly Clarkson Show this week when asked about the time when he “almost died” on set in Morocco: “Nearly…well, I was choked out accidentally.”

“There’s a hanging sequence,” Fraser continued, rising to his feet off the chat show sofa. “I was standing on my toes like this with the rope and you only got so far to go. Stephen [Sommers, director] ran over and he said, ‘Hey, it doesn’t really look like your choking. Can you sell it?’”

At that point Fraser said he did one more take. “The camera swooped around and I went up on the toes and the guy holding the rope above me, he pulled it up a little higher and I was stuck on my toes and I had nowhere to go but down,” he said,

“So he was pulling up and I was going down. And then the next thing I knew, my elbow was in my ear, the world was sideways and there was gravel in my teeth.”

Fraser recounted that everything fell really quiet and the stunt coordinator began trying to wake him up. “Congratulations, you’re in the club – same thing happened to Mel Gibson on Braveheart,” Fraser remembered the coordinator greeting him with once he’d come round.

In 2019 Fraser spoke to Entertainment Weekly about the incident, saying that he and his director have contradictory accounts.

Fraser recalled of the moments after losing consciousness: “I was like, ‘Hey, you guys think what you need to, but I’m done for the day.'”

Sommers, however, said that Fraser was “is totally to blame”. He claimed to EW: “[Fraser] tightens the noose, and then, as we’re about to get the shot, he’s trying to make it look like it’s really strangling him. I guess it cut off his carotid artery, or whatever, and knocked him out. He did it to himself.”

Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser at the BFI London Film Festival in 2022. CREDIT: Getty

Fraser responded: “[Sommers] needed to sell that Rick [O’Connell, protagonist] was actually choking, so, technically yes, it was my fault, that I was following direction from my director to sell it.

“You know what? To be fair to that remark, I did make one fatal error. I figured before the camera lands on me, I will take three really deep breaths, so my face turns purple and my veins pop out of my neck. I’ll really fucking sell it, you know! That had to have been a [lesson in how] to asphyxiate yourself. I mean, that had to have been it.

“In me pointing fingers at [Sommers], and vice versa, you got me on that point. I was doing my job to look like a man dangling by his neck about to die. I got to say, what you see in the movie is the take that they did, so they had to cut away, because moments later, I was out of it.”

Fraser and Sommers went on to work together again for 2001’s The Mummy Returns and 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra.

In other news, Fraser was recently praised as a “class individual” while on the red carpet of the BAFTAs 2023.

Taking to the red carpet before the 76th BAFTAs (British Academy Film Awards) ceremony on February 19, the actor proved to TV host Ali Plumb just how classy he can be.

Fraser was given a bumper sticker that read: “Honk if you’d rather be watching the 1999 cinematic masterpiece The Mummy starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz.”

“I don’t know where this will fit, but maybe one of your many people…” started Plumb before Fraser took the stickers and put them inside his jacket pocket. “Classy,” said Plumb with Fraser promising to “put it on the back of my jacket if I win”.

Plumb then tried to carry on with the interview, asking Fraser “how are you finding all this attention? It must be slightly overwhelming right?”

The Whale star said that “one good turn deserves another” and handed the interviewer a packet of Haribo from his pocket.