"Seattle is where I came of age, it's where I grew up," says Brendan Fraser, the 6-foot-3, 34-year-old actor whose roles have ranged from comedy (George of the Jungle) to adventure (The Mummy) to drama (the Oscar-winning Gods and Monsters). The son of a foreign officer for the Canadian government, Fraser was born in Indianapolis and lived in Holland before settling in Seattle at age 11. Interested in theater, he enrolled in the city's Cornish College of the Arts, and began interning and appearing in plays at the local Intiman Theatre. In 1991, the movie Dogfight, starring River Phoenix and Lili Taylor, came to Seattle and put out a casting call for extras. Fraser won what would become a one-line part as a Vietnam-bound sailor, and, as they say, he was on his way. He moved to L.A. and began his slow but steady ascent, appearing in films such as Encino Man, The Scout, and The Quiet American. This month, he's back on the big screen in the live animation remake of the famed Warner Bros. cartoon series Looney Tunes. We caught up with Fraser and asked him to take us back to the old days - and the new ones - in his former hometown.
When did you first arrive in Seattle?
"In 1979, when our family moved to a little-known suburb called Redmond. It had two stoplights at the time, and one of them was for a bridle trail. When you pressed the button, it would stop the traffic. So I amused myself endlessly with my naughty friends, waiting for at least five or six cars to come down 148th Avenue and pressing the stoplight and watching them all stop as we strolled across the street. Then it became Redmond, Washington, the home of Microsoft. I think Bill Gates was in a garage around there somewhere. In 1979, he probably had a soldering iron and a pair of Converse high-tops. That's about it."