From Co-Stars to Best Friends: The Matt Damon and Brendan Fraser Story

Damon and Fraser became friends while showering together in the buff.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Videos by Rare

Videos by Rare

Matt Damon and Brendan Fraser became friends while showering together in the buff. Not exactly the most common way for people to establish a friendship.

To clarify, their shower experience took place during the production of 1992’s School Ties. Fraser filled the lead role, while Damon played a prominent part in the movie about a boarding school student surrounded by anti-Semites.

At any rate, the two actors formed a friendship during that movie — a friendship that continues to this day.

Brendan Fraser recently earned a best actor nomination from the Golden Globes for his lead role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. Fraser’s much-talked-about performance is gaining traction as his best yet. 

So, what better time to review Damon’s and Fraser’s careers — and how their friendship played out over the years. 

How You Like Them Credits of Yours, Damon?

Matt Damon was born in October 1970 in Cambridge, Mass. He started attending Harvard University in 1988.

Damon’s impressive performances in student theater plays at Harvard secured him a professional acting gig in Mystic Pizza while he continued his studies.

Damon didn’t graduate from Harvard because he was 12 credits short of the required number. Ironically, he gave a graduation speech at the university seven years ago.

In 1992, he played one of the antisemitic classmates to a Jewish student portrayed by Brendan Fraser. While the film lost money at the box office, it also launched the pair’s careers as burgeoning actors.

Here is the aforementioned clip of Damon’s shower scene with Fraser:

Damon took off after School Ties and embarked on building a career that would make most actors jealous.

His acting credits are too many to name, but they include Good Will Hunting, the Bourne series, and The Martian.

Damon’s next role is likely to be in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, a biopic about the father of the atomic bomb.

Brendan Fraser’s Career

For pretty much all of the 1990s, Brendan Fraser’s face was inescapable: his strong jawline, wide eyes, and gloriously floppy head of hair… he was the definition of a movie star. From the serious School Ties to sillier fare, like George of the Jungle, to the ever-bankable action of The Mummy, Fraser was the man for the job. So why, then, did the jobs start drying up?

Fraser’s first leading role came in 1992 with Encino Man. The hunky 24-year-old played a frozen — and thawed — caveman, thrust into modern society. And though the film performed modestly at the box office, the cult classic put Fraser on the map. It also came to define the actor’s particular brand of on-screen naiveté, as he would go on to play similar roles in George of the Jungle (1997) and Blast from the Past (1999).

But Fraser also displayed an early range. The same year that Encino Man premiered, he played the lead in School Ties, a ’50s-era prep school drama that pitted Fraser against the likes of rising stars like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck. And the rest of Frasier’s decade unfolded at that fast pace of success. Among the hits: Airheads, Mrs. Winterbourne, George of the Jungle, Gods and Monsters, Blast from the Past, Crash, and of course, the wildly popular Mummy trilogy which ended in 2008.

And though Fraser did appear in various movies over the past 20 years, they were, really, bit roles compared to his initial oeuvre.

An enlightening GQ profile was just the beginning of a new age for Brendan Fraser. After re-establishing himself with a stable slew of serious TV roles — the History Channel miniseries Texas Rising (2015), the Showtime drama The Affair (2016–2017), the FX anthology Trust (2018), the Epix series Condor (2018) — Fraser is coming back to the big screen.

Matt Damon and Brendan Fraser’s Friendship

In a new GQ interview (not to be confused with the one mentioned above), Fraser tipped his cap to Damon. He expressed his deep admiration for Damon and said Damon upped Fraser’s gain. Part of that improvement occurred when Fraser and Damon screen-tested for the same project.

“I knew that I needed to match pitch with him,” Fraser said in the video interview. “I wasn’t really certain how working for camera differentiated from what I was accustomed to. [At] that time of my life, come out of training in a conservatory. I knew that I needed to size things down.”

Fraser added. “I also knew that if I just listened to what Matt was saying, I was getting across what needed to be acted and conveyed. And I think that’s because he’s such a good actor. He makes you better.”

Thus far, School Ties remains the only movie in which both Damon and Fraser appeared. But with Fraser now on a tear, and Damon always on a tear, they may be poised to reunite in a future film.

Read More: “Seriously, What Happened to Brendan Fraser?

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