Actor Brendan Fraser has just won his Academy Award for Best Actor in Leading Role. “The Whale”) — but according to visual effects artist Dave Rand, the “Encino Man” Star was a “righteous dude” That little gold statuette was long before he took it home.
Rand told the story in a lengthy tweet, explaining that Fraser had been the one to step up when a studio bankruptcy resulted in his entire visual effects team getting stiffed for three weeks of work on a major film — to the tune of $1.3 million.
#BrendanFraser Is a decent man.
In November 2007 our paychecks stopped. I was the FX leader. #JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth Meteor Studios Montreal asked me to convince my crew that we would all be paid overtime. We had… https://t.co/DmQUIEAkMQ pic.twitter.com/1jegFlWECd
— Dave Rand (@daverandla) March 13, 2023
“#BrendanFraser Rand stated, “Is a righteous guy.” “In November 2007 our paychecks stopped. I was the FX lead on #JourneyToTheCenterOfTheEarth for Meteor Studios in Montreal and was asked to convince my crew to stay and finish the picture with a guarantee we’d all get paid with overtime.”
“We had a handful of shots left. As soon as we delivered the last shot, we were escorted out. It was two weeks before Christmas and we’d soon learn there was no money. Meteor was declaring bankruptcy. They owed us 1.3 million dollars,” Rand continued — and he said that he immediately contacted the press.
Variety spoke to Rand’s crew, but eventually passed the story on to Rand. Rand was informed via email. “The paper has decided that another visual effects company going bankrupt, however sad, is really not news worthy at this time.”
Rand shopped the story to a number of other outlets in Hollywood, getting similar results every time — and he began to believe that it was coordinated. “My guess was the studio had put pressure on them to bury it,” He said.
He then issued a press release by himself. This prompted a threat email and phone call from Variety, as well as a warning from the labor division, telling him that if he went to the press, it could end any case they had.
He said that he tried to reach Fraser — the star and producer of the movie — through his people, but failed to make contact.
Then Page Six called and asked him to help. A wider reach. The story went live August 1, 2008.
“My phone rang as I was reading the piece, a 212 area code,” Rand said that he believed it to be the Page Six reporter who published the piece. “I answered to thank the girl, but a man answered and he said, ‘Is this Dave Rand?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ ‘This is Brendan Fraser, what the f*** is going on?’ He had no idea that artists were not paid on his movie. He listened intently, asked a lot of questions and promised he would call me regularly until this was solved.”
Page Six posted an update on the matter two days later. Statement Fraser’s representative said that “Brendan just heard about this for the first time. He’s on it. He thinks what happened is awful, and he’s extremely upset.”
“We finally got 80% of our money almost 2 years later,” Rand concluded. “To quote the great Steve Hulett: ‘What runs the world isn’t what’s right, or who’s the richest, it’s leverage, and who has it.’ We’d had none, but Mr. Fraser gave us wings. He’s a righteous dude.”
“From Visual Effects Lead: ‘Righteous Dude’ Brendan Fraser Fought For Artists When Studio Refused To Pay Up“
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