Doom Patrol – Brendan Fraser : “It is not a series of sweet for the kids” (Interview)
While season 1 of Doom Patrol is currently airing on SyFy in France, and Brendan Fraser came to Paris to talk to us about this new series from DC. The opportunity for the actor to come back on the qualities of the little sister of the Titans, his role of Robot-Man and his career (Scrubs, The Mummy, Superman).
Doom Patrol has been an influence for the X-Men
What is it that convinced you to join this series ?
It was the opportunity to play a man who sees his brain to be transposed into the body of a robot and join a universe of characters as misfits, misfits, and to be supported by a studio major as a DC.
It was a dream to integrate the family of DC Comics ?
A dream ? Yes, of course. It was the dream of a life, and when I saw the series, when I saw this material, I said ‘Oh yes, I want to do it.’ It is unique, interesting.
Are you familiar with the comics Doom Patrol before ?
No not at all. But I’ve done some research and I learned that it was a comic born in the early 60s that has definitely been an influence for the X-Men. Doom Patrol has not been as well lived in the time, there must have been between 7 and 9 new incarnations of the Doom Patrol. They have not ceased to kill them and then bring them back to life. So it is exciting to be able to see them on a screen, finally.
Riley Shanahan takes care of the physical part of Robot-Man
Speaking of which, you and the other actors are the first incarnation of the Doom Patrol on a screen. You felt a pressure on this subject ?
Obviously, this is always the case. But I also find that it is a positive thing because it allows everyone to work more seriously, to want to take risks. And it is always what we want to see when you look at the great entertainment.
This is something that you may not know, but it is not you who are underneath the costume of Robot-man. How is it that it happens on the shoot ?
Riley Shanahan is an artist who takes care of the physical part, it is a really great dude. It works together with all the actors, we read the script, what is called a “scratch track” to understand/assimilate the voice of the character, they listen to him. The specificity of each of these episodes, these scripts, it is that there is no possible misunderstanding about what a character will do what and when, everything is well thought out. I record the voice and sometimes Cliff, the race car driver, appears in the costume because of the special approach of this story.
Are you still on the tray when you are not under the costume ?
And it was your choice to have recourse to a lining for the character ?
I can’t be in two places at once, it is a practical reason. It takes a whole village of people to give life to these characters.
Is it challenging sometimes having to only play with your voice ?
Yes. But sometimes it is the best of all the jobs. Me I work in a studio and it comes out through the performance of Riley Shanahan in the costume of the Robot. It is a fun process. As long as it works.
Doom Patrol is not a thing sweet for the kids
What is good with Doom Patrol, is that it is not a series of super-heroes who try to save the world, but a series centered on characters who are trying to save. This is a new approach, it changes.
Yes, these are anti-heroes. They are much more locked in their dark psychological problems, their relationship problems. They do not like each other, they are not interested in the idea of saving the world, they find that super-heroes are… I can’t say, they can be vulgar (laughs). But they think they are surcotés. Doom Patrol is a band of unstitched, this is a dysfunctional family. They are supportive but cannot blainey.
And the relationship between the actors is also dysfunctional on the trays ?
No. Oh, no (laughter). It is really related, we take care of others. Each time you do a project like that, you really should give your confidence to others.
Doom Patrol can be very funny, and a moment later very dark. How do you manage these two-tone diametrically opposed ?
It is extremely well written. What I can say. There are themes very dark in this series, each character tries to achieve his own salvation, but they do not know whether they will succeed. Without the other, they can’t go far but at the same time they hate each other strongly, even if they hold the one to the other. I think the humor comes, in fact, of all the seriousness that lies beneath. And I love that this is dark, this is not something sweet for the kids. Without saying that this is not appropriate for younger kids, but it is a material that does not insult the public by pretending to be something he is not.
Titans and Doom Patrol are two series, well separated
The Doom Patrol was featured in an episode of season 1 of Titans…
(He cuts in) I don’t know much about the Titans, so please forgive me for that. I can tell you that Doom Patrol has its own universe, it is something that is necessary [both series do not share the same continuity, ed.], even if we used the license [of the Titans], and I hope that the fans we pardonnerons for it. We had to make a crossover and it was cool to see the Titans landed, presenting our characters to introduce. But these are two series, well separated.
So you can’t expect a new meeting between the two series ?
I don’t know. I just sent the scenarios, I read, and I play (laughs). I can’t talk about the future.
When we look at your career, you realize that you are greatly now in the world series. It you are interested in more than one film ?
I’m just glad to have a job. So it depends. And then now, what is tv and what is the cinema ? Doom Patrol is a series whose history is told in several episodes, but each of these episodes is a sort of mini-film. These 10 episodes could have been condensed into 2 hours to make a film, but the format of the series is better suited to the story. We have more time to explore these characters and there is more equipment to invest in. And then the fans love it. So if it works for them, it works for us.
I don’t know if you remember, but you’ve played in the series Scrubs…
Of course, I remember.
And one of your episodes is “My Screw Up” (My fault, I, VF), which is regarded as one of the best, one of the strongest of the series. Did you already have this feeling at the time of the shooting ?
No. No (laughter). But if you say, thank you. Bill Lawrence, who created the series would be very happy to hear that. It is very nice.
You’ve kept a few souvenirs of your passage on Scrubs ?
Yes, very fun. Christa Lawrence [the interpreter of Jordan] and all the world were amazing. It was shot in L. A. in a very old abandoned hospital, which was also office studio. They were all very funny. I believe that I have come to two or three different occasions, they were really funny. It was like hanging out with a theatre troupe with their way of working. They were really good.
I made tests for the role of Superman
Since you are a man of the series, by look at you a lot ?
Currently I watch a lot of documentaries related to the kitchen. I find it fascinating. And also stuff about serial killers. I don’t know why, but I love it at this time. So yeah, food and serial killers in bulk. And I also look a little too much information…
If you had the choice, you would be ready for a sequel to The Mummy or George Of the Jungle ?
I’ve already made a sequel to the Mummy, twice ! Where were you ? (laughter). And for George, someone else did [the actor Christopher Showerman was replaced in 2003].
How to react to people when they are going to cross paths in the street ?
Me they point their fingers and say,”
can I have a selfie ?“, “ What is your name ?“, “ It is you… what is your name ?“. Stuff like that. Or “ You owe me 50 dollars. Repays me. I know who you are !“ Is it true that you would have been able to be Superman ?
Many guys could be. But yes, I have done tests for this role. I had to work with the costume, it was really cool. I even had to sign a non-disclosure agreement when they gave me the script. It was fantastic, it was not the same as the one with Brandon Routh [released in 2006], there were two different stories. It was fantastic. It was printed on paper in crimson red with black ink, as it couldn’t be photocopied. They had given me an hour to read it before their return. It was really good.
And it was with J. J. Abrams, is that it ?
Yes, it was the script of J. J. Abrams. So it was a disappointment… But hey, J. J. went well since, not enough to cry.
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