What's next for Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan after their big Oscar comebacks?
It was a night for comeback kids at the 2023 Oscars. This year's Academy Awards included not one, but two wins for actors who are in the middle of major resurgences in their careers: Ke Huy Quan, a former child star who quit acting for 20 years because he couldn't land roles, and Brendan Fraser, who was also largely out of the spotlight in recent years after being a major star in the 1990s. So now that they're both Oscars winners, what's next for Quan and Fraser? Here's what we know:
Killers of the Flower Moon
Starting with Brendan Fraser, the actor's follow-up to The Whale could be another Oscar contender: Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon.
Fraser has a supporting role in the upcoming Scorsese film, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio and centers on an investigation into the murders of members of the Osage tribe in the 1920s. It's based on the non-fiction book of the same name. Fraser booked a role in the film in 2021, and he's reportedly playing W.S. Hamilton, a defense lawyer.
Fraser noted to GQ this reunited him with DiCaprio after they ran into each other in the 1990s, while they were both up-and-coming actors. In fact, Fraser recalled that all these years later, DiCaprio remembered an interaction they had in the '90s while on the Killers of the Flower Moon set.
"I think I had just been in School Ties or something then, and I was, like, flummoxed but I just wanted to tell him, Hear, hear. That was incredible," Fraser told GQ. "And he repeated that to me. He remembered me. He said: You were the only guy who didn't treat me like a little kid. He volunteered that to me. That was meaningful."
Also in 2021, Fraser was confirmed to have joined the cast of Brothers, a comedy that will pair him with Josh Brolin, Peter Dinklage, and Glenn Close, with Brolin and Dinklage playing siblings. Max Barbakow, the filmmaker behind Hulu's Palm Springs, is directing, with Etan Cohen (Tropic Thunder) working on the script.
Not much is known about the film's plot, though Fraser revealed to Variety it's a heist movie.
"There are jewels at stake, which have been mysteriously buried, possibly inside a cadaver," he teased. "And fraternal twins Josh Brolin and Peter Dinklage — who are very funny together, let me tell you — are harangued by yours truly, a renegade jailer."
These are the only two upcoming Fraser projects we know about (other than one called Behind the Curtain of Night, a version of which appears to have already been released without fanfare under the title The Secret Of Karma in 2020). But there was supposed to be one more major Fraser role in the pipeline: Batgirl. Fraser played the villain, Firefly, in the DC film starring Leslie Grace, but it was canceled in 2022 despite being fully shot.
"It's tragic," Fraser told Variety of the film's cancellation. "It doesn't engender trust among filmmakers and the studio."
Batgirl is unlikely to ever be publicly seen, though Grace has shared some behind-the-scenes footage showing her working with Fraser.
American Born Chinese
Moving on to Ke Huy Quan, the Best Supporting Actor winner's next project after his Oscar victory is expected to be the Disney+ show American Born Chinese, which reunites him with several of his co-stars from Everything Everywhere All at Once.
Based on the graphic novel, the action comedy "tells the story of Jin Wang, an average teenager juggling his high school social life with his home life," per Disney. "When he meets a new student on the first day of the school year, even more worlds collide as Jin is unwittingly entangled in a battle of Chinese mythological gods."
The show not only stars Quan, but also Everything Everywhere's Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, and James Hong. The Hollywood Reporter described it as "wildly entertaining" and "occasionally touching." The show premieres on Disney+ on May 24.
Loki season 2
Quan will continue his relationship with Disney+ by joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe in his biggest post-Oscar role. The actor has joined the cast of the second season of the Marvel series Loki, and based on footage shown at the D23 expo, he appears to be playing an archivist for the Time Variance Authority, the group that controls the flow of time in the show.
On the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Quan said that after Everything Everywhere All at Once was released, the first phone call he received was from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige offering him a role in the MCU. The offer came after Quan failed to book a single job in 2021, after shooting Everything Everywhere but before the film was released, leading him to lose his health insurance.
"I was so touched, and I was like, 'All that time when nobody wanted me, and here is one of the most powerful producers on the planet,'" he told SiriusXM's Jess Cagle.
Loki's second season is expected to premiere in mid-2023.
The Electric State
Quan's other big project on the horizon is The Electric State, a new Netflix movie directed by Avengers: Endgame filmmakers Joe and Anthony Russo. The Russos previously worked with Quan, as they produced Everything Everywhere All at Once.
"Set in a retro-futuristic past," The Electric State follows an "orphaned teenager who traverses the American West in search of her younger brother," and "joining her on the journey is a sweet but mysterious robot and an eccentric drifter," per Netflix. Millie Bobby Brown plays the lead teenager, and the film also stars Chris Pratt, Stanley Tucci, Giancarlo Esposito, Brian Cox, and Billy Bob Thornton. It's based on the graphic novel of the same name.
Quan said on the Happy Sad Confused podcast he had an "incredible" experience being directed by the Russos, adding that he was excited to work with Chris Pratt, "who I love dearly." He also said he filmed for about a month but that movie was still being shot at the time of this January 2023 interview.
Because Quan has already completed his work on all of these projects, after his Oscar win, he told Variety, "Right now, I don't have a job. I don't have anything planned." He continued that he's concerned that he'll continue struggling to land roles, just like he did before stepping away from acting, despite now being an Oscar winner.
"Moving forward, I'm still really scared, even though I just won an Oscar," he said. "But I'm still very fearful of what tomorrow brings. I had a conversation with my agent, and I said, 'I'm so worried that this is only a one-time thing. I've been down this road before, and I'm so afraid that history is going to repeat itself."
Quan added that he conveyed this fear to Cate Blanchett, telling her, "I'm afraid that I'm going to do maybe one more [project], and then I'll be gone again."