Exclusive: Brendan Fraser Offered Lead In M. Night Shyamalan’s Trap, Benedict Cumberbatch Drops Out

We've learned Brendan Fraser has been asked to replace Benedict Cumberbatch in M. Night Shyamalan's next feature, Trap.

By Michileen Martin | Updated

brendan fraser

It isn’t every day that Doctor Strange gets replaced by Robotman, but in Hollywood anything is possible. According to our trusted and proven sources, Brendan Fraser has been offered the chance to take the lead role of Trap, the next film from M. Night Shyamalan. Earlier in May GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT exclusively reported that Benedict Cumberbatch was in final negotiations to lead the film, but now our sources say the Sherlock star has had to drop out for unknown reasons.

If Fraser says yes to the part, Trap would mark the first screen collaboration between Brendan Fraser and M. Night Shyamalan, and in a few ways, it would be a more than fitting team-up. While Fraser was working in front of the camera and Shyamalan behind it, both hit their initial gold mine of success around the same time. Fraser became a bonafide action star with 1999’s The Mummy and Shyamalan went from an unknown to one of Hollywood’s most sought after directors the same year with The Sixth Sense.

Likewise, the careers of both M. Night Shyamalan and Brendan Fraser are known for some extreme peaks and valleys. While this year’s Knock at the Cabin marked the seventh Shyamalan-helmed film to open theatrically at the #1 spot, at the same time few other directors seem to bounce back and forth between being critics’ favorite director and their favorite doormat. At times Shyamalan’s reputation has proven so rough that studios avoid mentioning his involvement in the marketing; such was the case with 2013’s After Earth.

Meanwhile, Brendan Fraser was considered by many to be blacklisted from Hollywood for years, allegedly for publicly accusing then Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk of sexual assault. Between that and Fraser’s emotional and physical challenges, the actor’s career lows clearly had less to do with critics or ticket sales, and more to do with his life outside the set.

brendan fraser
Brendan Fraser in The Whale (2022)

The last few years have blessed Brendan Fraser with a career renaissance, and he’s quickly become one of the most beloved actors in Hollywood. While back in the late 1990s and early 2000s it likely seemed fairly improbable that a guy who — even before his career dip — was best known for action blockbusters and comedies like George of the Jungle and Bedazzled would be an Oscar contender. Yet this year, to the surprise of no one, Fraser took home the Best Leading Actor Academy Award for his role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale.

Trap likewise represents part of a bounce back for Shyamalan. According to Deadline, Trap will be the first feature in the multi-year first look directing and producing deal Shyamalan signed with Warner Bros. in February. The deal came weeks after his latest psychological thriller, Knock at the Cabin, proved an impressive box office success.

Characteristic of Shyamalan projects, no details about the plot of Trap have been revealed, so it’s far too early to speculate about the role Brendan Fraser has been offered. Trap currently has a release date of August 2, 2024.