Actor Brendan Fraser battled legions of the undead while filming the 1999 action-packed flick “The Mummy” — and according to a recent interview, he very nearly joined them.
Fraser joined host Kelly Clarkson on her eponymous show on Monday and explained what happened when a hanging sequence that was supposed to happen in the movie came a little bit too close to reality.
Clarkson asked whether it was true that he had nearly died making the movie — and Fraser, laughing, explained that a stunt went a bit too far, and he got “choked out.”
“Well, I was choked out, accidentally. There’s a hanging sequence —” Fraser began, referencing a scene near the beginning of the movie when his character, Rick O’Connell, was sentenced to be hanged — allegedly for having “a very good time.”
“I was standing on my toes, like this, with the rope,” Fraser said, standing to give a demonstration. “And, you know, you only got so far to go. And Steve [Sommer] ran over and said, ‘Hey, it doesn’t really look like you’re choking. Can you sell it?’”
Fraser agreed, adding, “So I thought, one more take, man. And 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. I had nowhere to go but down. So he was pulling up and I was going down.”
That was when everything went sideways, Fraser continued, saying, “The next thing I knew, my elbow was in my ear, the world was sideways, and there was gravel in my teeth. And everyone was really quiet.”
The stunt coordinator was clapping his hands and calling his name, trying to snap him out of it — and when he finally opened his eyes, the coordinator remarked, “Congratulations, you’re in the club! Same thing happened to Mel Gibson on ‘Braveheart.’”
Sommer told Entertainment Weekly several years ago that Fraser was actually to blame for the mishap, saying that the actor had done too good a job of “selling it” that time around.
“He 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 said.
Fraser conceded the point, saying, “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 f***ing sell it, you know! That had to have been a [lesson in how] to asphyxiate yourself. I mean, that had to have been it. So, you know what? In me pointing fingers at Stephen, 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.”