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Brendan Fraser masters CGI again in "Inkheart"
Fri Jan 23, 2009 1:59pm EST
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By Cristy Lytal
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - In a beachfront hotel room overlooking the Pacific Ocean, actor Brendan Fraser is sipping a cup of tea and having an argument with a nearby lamp.
"Leave me alone!" he says. "I told you, you couldn't come here today," he pauses. "Well, go! Jerk."
Fraser is demonstrating the basic principals of acting in effects-filled movies like this month's family film "Inkheart," which debuts in U.S. theaters on Friday. In it, Fraser plays Mortimer "Mo" Folchart, a man who can summon characters to life from the pages of books simply by reading aloud.
The actor is no stranger to the challenges posed by working alone on a studio soundstage against a green screen background, then having computer generated images (CGI) added into the scene at a later date by editors and technicians.
In fact, Fraser has made something of a specialty of working that way in CGI-heavy movies such as the three "Mummy" films, "Looney Tunes: Back in Action," and "Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D." He's at it again in "Inkheart."
"Me and my imaginary friends," he called the CGI characters with whom he so often works.
"This actor got sent to the principal's office frequently for that reason, and now they pay this actor to be that way," the told Reuters, with a laugh.
As a child, Fraser said he always seemed to be the new kid in school, and he needed all the imaginary friends he could get. The fourth of four sons, he lived a nomadic life in the U.S., Canada, and Europe due to his father's job with the Canadian government office of tourism.
As an adult, acting granted Fraser a sense of belonging that has extended well beyond the confines of Hollywood.
TAILOR MADE ROLE
In 2002, best-selling German author Cornelia Funke sent him a copy of her young adult novel "Inkheart" with a surprising and flattering inscription.
"It said, 'Dear Brendan, Thank you for inspiring the character of Mo. I hope that you will one day be able to read this to your children. Sincerely Yours, Cornelia Funke,'" Fraser recalled.
Fraser was so moved that he hopped a flight to Hamburg, where he spent the day with Funke, her husband, her daughter, her son, their Icelandic horse, and their "crazy dog Ludi who ate the tea cakes," Fraser said.
When the time came to cast the film adaptation of the book, he was the first and only choice to play Mo.
Still, even though he was the inspiration for Funke's fictional creation, Fraser didn't think he could just be himself without doing any acting at all. "There's a character," he says. "I mean there's a guy named Mo, Mortimer Folchart." Continued...
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