Brendan Fraser Reflects on Nearly Dying During 'The Mummy' Stunt

Brendan Fraser nearly died performing one of the many stunts that went into filming his iconic 1999 film The Mummy. The Whale star, 54, talked about the near-death experience during a recent appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, revealing he was accidentally "choked out" while filming the scene in which his character is nearly hanged.  

"I was standing on my toes like this with the rope and you only got so far to go," Fraser said, standing up to demonstrate his position. "[Director Stephen Sommers] ran over and he said, 'Hey, it doesn't really look like your choking. Can you sell it?'" During the next take, Fraser recalled, "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."

"So he was pulling up and I was going down," the Screen Actors Guild Award winner continued. "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 remembered how quiet the set got as the stunt coordinator was trying to revive him. Once he did, the actor recalled being told, "Congratulations, you're in the club – same thing happened to Mel Gibson on Braveheart."

Fraser's role in The Mummy would go on to be one of his most iconic, and the actor made headlines in January after he crashed a sold-out theatrical screening of The Mummy in London. "I am proud to stand before you tonight," Fraser told the audience at the time. "This is a film that was made in Britain. You should know that! Even the second one, too. Be proud. Thank you for being here. We had no idea what kind of movie we were making when we shot this. We didn't know if it was a drama or a comedy or an action or a horror picture or a romance... all the above. We had no idea until it tested in front of British audiences. Thank you for that."

Fraser is now nominated for his first Academy Award for best actor after his performance in The Whale. "I approached this film as if I will never be called upon to do it again," Fraser told Deadline of taking the role after a hiatus from acting. "I made myself vulnerable to everyone, and I find it liberating because I have nothing to hide or prove. I have nothing but respect for everyone who sees it, even the people who disagree with the material artistically."