Brendan Fraser: Cliff the robot has 'poetic' journey in 'Doom Patrol' S4

New episodes of Brendan Fraser's sci-fi comedy, "Doom Patrol," premiere Thursdays. Photo courtesy of HBO
1 of 5 | New episodes of Brendan Fraser's sci-fi comedy, "Doom Patrol," premiere Thursdays. Photo courtesy of HBO

NEW YORK, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- The Whale and The Mummy star Brendan Fraser says Doom Patrol has a lot of heart and humanity for an over-the-top, HBO Max action comedy.

Co-starring Matt Bomer, April Bowlby, Diane Guerrero, Joivan Wade and Michelle Gomez, the DC Comics adaptation follows a team of unlikely heroes who gained their extraordinary powers through various horrific accidents. New episodes of the fourth and final season premiere Thursdays.


Fraser lends his voice to the character Cliff Steele, an arrogant race-car driver whose body was destroyed during an Indianapolis 500 crash, leaving only his brain alive and housed in a robotic body.

"The beauty of Doom Patrol is that they are misfits," Fraser recently told the crowd at New York Comic Con. "They are an unconventional family whether they like it or not and they need one another."


The actor admitted Cliff doesn't make a good impression when he is introduced on the show.

"He was kind of a jerk in Season 1," Fraser acknowledged.

"I seriously question whether he won all those race car races fair and square. Hubris and all, he crashed his car and his brain got stuck in a robot. Life, right? So, his quest, as I've always seen it, is to become a better human -- than he ever was -- as a robot, which is poetic," he added.

"In Season 4, he does get a chance to reconcile with his daughter, with his grandson. It's his quest really just to become a better man."

Fraser said working on the show is like a part-time job because Riley Shanahan does "all the heavy lifting" by wearing Cliff's mechanical body.

"I voice it. So, I can record lines from the town a couple of streets over from where I live, close to where I get my bagels. I can do it [wearing] my long johns," he explained. "It's a good gig. I love the dialogue. I love the copious use of F-bombs."

At first, the actor didn't know if having two actors play the same character would culminate in one seamless portrayal.


"The writing was such that everyone understood the character so well," he said. "What I see in the recording booth, just watching everyone's performances, I really feel like I am there. I just read my part as if I really was there. It is a testament to the good writing and excellent performing."

Fraser admitted he has a soft spot for his character's imperfection.

"Cliff has a big rusty heart in him. I love the rivalry that he has with this guy, who is like a brand new Samsung phone and Cliff is like a diesel-powered lawnmower," he said, comparing Cliff to Cyborg, who is played by Wade.

"I think Cliff gets it wrong [a lot], but he gets it right in the end. He always runs his mouth off. I think that there is a Cliff Steele in a lot of us. He represents that voice of, 'I'm gonna get it right if i bang my head against the wall enough times,'" he added.

"I don't know who that reminds me of. Not naming names.," he joked, pointing to himself.

Like Cliff, Fraser said he feels happy to be a part of something bigger than himself.

"Cliff's just glad to tag along," Fraser said. "I'm just happy to have a job."


The actor said he relishes the potty-mouthed character's "power of poignant, perfect profanity" and loves the way his robot looks, as well.

"That wardrobe is awesome. Come on! Leather jacket? Boots? Killer helmet? Robot-man look? Sign me up!" he said.

He praised the work ethic and talent of fellow cast member Bowlby, who plays Rita Orr, a former movie star with the ability to change her shape, but who struggles to maintain a solid form.

"April, I have watched you be handed telephone books of dialogue. You look at it once, get it all in one take and I'm monosyllabic in a recording booth five states away," he said, addressing his co-star. "I also love that Rita's solution to everything is cocktails."

While most of the show is fast-paced and funny, Rita has her share of "emotional and sad" moments, Fraser said, referring to the textured nature of the show.

"It's something she can't control," he said about Rita's powers.

"It reminds me of the Elephant Man. Do you remember when the Elephant Man would run from people? It was really touching. Don't look! Don't look! Don't see me this way. It makes Rita more vulnerable, even though she's this metahuman."


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