Brendan Fraser

Looney Tunes: Back In Action

Interviewed by Alana Lee

“You've really got to stroke his feathers and make him feel like he's numero uno ”

Brendan Fraser came to the world's attention as the hapless Tarzan figure in George Of The Jungle. Since then he's carved a heroic goofball niche for himself with the likes of The Mummy franchise, Monkeybone and Bedazzled. He's also demonstrated an aptitude for weightier roles in critically acclaimed films like Gods & Monsters and last year's The Quiet American, but for the moment he returns to comic mode with Looney Tunes: Back In Action.

Did you ever think you'd be starring in a movie with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck?

Nope, but boy am I proud to be! Come on! They are easily some of the funniest comic cartoon characters ever created. I think every cartoon character since has in some way referred back to them whether they knew it or not. I know I owe a debt of gratitude to them for everything that's rubbed off on me. I was so delighted to see them on TV as a kid and it's given me a few extra tools in the comic tool chest to work with.

So you cribbed a lot of stuff off Bugs?

You know, what I learned from Bugs is just be a good guy. Show up on time, know your lines and don't bump into the furniture unless it's in the script! On the other hand, don't be like Daffy. Everything you've heard about him is true. He's a lot of work. You've really got to stroke his feathers and make him feel like he's numero uno, when everybody knows he’s just a sidekick. That's the thing about Daffy. Everyone understands that he needs a little extra work but at the end of the day, it's worth it. Actually we've come to an understanding. We had our differences but he'd always come up to me and say: [he does an impression of Daffy] "Sorry I was a little bit difficult today", and I'd say: 'That's OK'. Bonk! [hits an invisible Daffy on the head!]

Was there much improvisation?

Well, yes, it actually seems like it's so technical, and to an extent it is, but also there's a great deal of liberty you have as a performer. Steve Martin is one of the great improvisers working today and he brings to his character work a great deal of revving up. His process is to rehearse and know exactly what he's doing and he's constantly honing and changing it. He's not precious about the choices that he makes. This character that he came up with, he's got this tight little suit on and the Tasmanian Devil is his henchman and he's the Chairman of the Board. No one ever knew who the Chairman of the Board was because it didn't exist in the canon of Looney Tunes characters until now.

Talking of the Tasmanian Devil, it's you, isn't it?

I am so proud of that fact. He's easily a favourite of mine.

What is the funniest thing about this film for you?

The joke is that I play Brendan Fraser's stunt man! He's been out of work because he had some sort of altercation with Brendan. The other Brendan is lazy. He's made his money. He lets the stuntman do the stunts. You gotta be careful, you know. You gotta stay sharp! I get to meet me at the end. I'm not going to tell you what I do to me. You'll have to see the movie.