Brendan Fraser has fought off mummies and survived an adventure to the center of the earth in 3-D, action-packed blockbusters. Now, he’s taking on the real-life role of John Crowley, a man who fought to save his young children from a terminal disease in Extraordinary Measures. Fraser, who is father to three boys – Griffin, 7, Holden, 5, and Leland, 3 – opened up to Parade about becoming emotionally involved in the true story, and being inspired by the heroic Crowley family.
On realizing he is very blessed: “My three sons are very healthy. John Crowley had two kids who certainly would not have lived past the age of four or six if it were not for his efforts to save their lives. So maybe, while doing the movie, I’d come home and hug my boys a little tighter. But I always hug and kiss them whether they like it or not. I’m like, ‘Come here, you,’ and you blow raspberries on them. That’s what I do.”
On doing anything for his kids: “It makes my heart stop beating for a moment to think it were true that my children might be in any kind of jeopardy. I mean, it really frightens me. Of course, I would do whatever it takes to save them. What parent wouldn’t? I’d throw myself in front of a train if I had to for their well being. That doesn’t mean you can protect them from everything, but you have to try. Harrison came up with an enduring line which his character says in this film, ‘Don’t hope for a miracle, make one,’ and that’s exactly what my character John Crowley did.”
On calling his real-life character, John Crowley, a true hero: “I’ve played some larger-than-life characters who’ve taken risks and met challenges, but it was all strictly make-believe. I think John Crowley is a true hero. Sometimes in life when the answer is ‘no,’ it’s the right answer and you have to live with it. But John said, ‘”No” is not acceptable. I’m going to find a way to turn it into a “maybe” and then a “yes.”‘ If he was going to go down, he was going to go down swinging.”
On meeting the Crowley kids: “The Crowley’s 12-year-old daughter, Megan, and 11-yer-old son, Patrick, came to a screening and, for the first time, I had an appreciation for truly how fragile they are. They’re on life-support systems, they’re in wheel chairs, they wear respiration units because they a degenerative disease that causes the muscles and body to atrophy. But the one thing it does not affect is the mind. And the spirit of these children is incredible just as you see them portrayed in the movie.”
On being amazed by Megan: “She has an incredible sense of humor. For love or money, I could not get the exact release date of this film out of the studio representatives. They weren’t saying. So I get this email from Megan who is Internet-savvy to the nth degree. ‘Dear Movie Dad: Guess what! There’s a Web site up. The movie’s opening on January 22nd, 2010. Love Megan. The Awesome.’ And she’d added, like, 19 exclamation points. Imagine my surprise when I went to the Web site and found it was indeed accurate. And imagine how crimson-faced the studio execs were when I was like, ‘Guess how I just found out when the movie’s opening? From 12 year old Megan Crowley.'”