Quite literally, Inkheart was made for Brendan Fraser. After all, when author Cornelia Funke first set out to write her popular novel, she modelled the main character after the famous star detailing his inspiration in the book’s dedication. For a humble Canadian-raised actor like Fraser, it was a bit much.
“I could feel my leg getting pulled,” laughed Fraser during a recent interview in L.A. “I was like, ‘OK, where’s Ashton Kutcher?’”
It does sound somewhat lampoonish. The boyish charm Fraser captures on-screen in blockbusters like The Mummy may have made him a star in Hollywood, but it’s not what you’d expect to motivate a prolific award-winning author.
“I wanted somebody where you (believe) he hugs the girl,” insisted Funke who also produced Inkheart (in theatres next Friday). “(But) the most important thing, I needed a beautiful voice where you believe if he reads something, the characters come out of the book.”
Which is just what happens to Fraser as Mortimer Folchart. A book-binding, adventure-seeker who loves ancient tomes, Folchart discovers he has the power to bring literary characters to life just by reading them aloud. As Funke admits, the story was aimed at celebrating literature, an aspect that also appealed to the cast.
“It’s a good story and it deserves to be made,” said Fraser.
Inkheart features darker elements than most family fare that fills theatres these days but co-star Paul Bettany insists those themes of death and corruption give the film its potency.
“I don’t know when we started being so overly protective of our children. I was scared to death by The Wizard of Oz and it was exhilarating,” said Bettany, adding that cinemas are the perfect place for kids to discover such emotions.