Mat Fraser is not a well-known entity, he is an actor but if you Google his name the first thing you will see is a hulking mass of human muscles laden on the body of a man who looks like someone who was sculpted out of a stone. Mat Fraser is a CrossFit champion, and the athlete could not be far from the person we are trying to talk here about.
Mat Fraser was born in 1962 with the future actor taking his first breath in this world in a hospital of England. The problem with his birth was he suffered from a birth condition where he suffered from the thalidomide-induced Phocomelia. It means the little boy was born with a deformity in his arms and his arms didn’t fully develop. The actor suffered through it throughout his entire life, and still, he is living with the condition.
When most people would’ve let the complication hinder their life, Mat was on the other side of the spectrum. He made the best of a crummy situation and went on to join various rock bands in his career. The actor was also the host of the pre-televised segment of the Paralympics Games as well as performing in the opening day of the sporting event.
But drumming was only for a short period of time, though it was the passion of the actor, drumming wasn’t exactly what he wanted to do when he moved into the early part of his adult life. Mat joined the Graeae Theatre Company which was the leading theatre in Europe for disabled people.
Acting in Theatre
Early to mid-80s Mat was involved on various plays and drama shows with the company then after a few months of struggling in the background, he was afforded his first major role in 'What the Butler Saw' by Joe Orton where the actor played the role of 'Dr. Prentice.' This was the first major break he needed, and the success of the show and the talent on display was enough for the actor to get through the 90s appearing in various plays.
After the turn of the century, the biggest challenge of his career was in the play 'Thalidomide!! A Musical.' The reason the play was challenging was because the Mat and Anna Winslet were the only two people involved in the play, and they were responsible for playing all the cast members of the play.
Source: BBC News
The actor was involved in many other movies and TV shows which hindered his ability to give time to stage plays. This was the reason why the actor took a seven years hiatus between his appearances on stage. After the 2005 play, the net time Mat graced everyone with his live performance was in a play by Kaite O’Reilly called ‘In Water I’m Weightless.’
Again, the actor took a five-year break from live performance and came back when he was offered a role in 'King Richard III,' a Shakespeare play. This was particularly important for the actor because for years he argued able-bodied people should not portray disabled people on screen, a movement which was dubbed “spacking up,” a play on the term “blacking up.”
Mat’s Appearance in Other Projects Beyond Theatre
ITV was the first channel to take a chance on the actor with 'Unknown Soldier' released in 1998 being the first major foray into the movie and TV world for Mat. Over his career, Mat appeared in 17 projects, but he was only consistent on the recorded side of the entertainment business in later part of the 2010s.
Mat was able to score a role in 'Holby City' in 2008, and then the most stable TV job of his career till then came in the form of ‘Cast Offs’ where he played the character of ‘Will’ and appeared in six episodes.
The biggest role of his career though, came in 2014 when 'American Horror Story: Freak Show' came calling, and the actor was hired to play the role of ‘Paul the Illustrated Seal’ in the fifth season of the acclaimed horror series. Mat appeared on all thirteen of the series’ episodes, and this was without a doubt the biggest role in his career.
In 2017-2018, Fraser took the role of ‘Roger’ in the series ‘Loudermilk’ starring Ron Livingston. Mat appeared in 15 episodes of the series in the first and second season of the comedy series.
Then, along came His Dark Materials where he was cast among a sprawling group of talented people including James Cosmo who is playing a prominent role in the series and Lin-Manuel Miranda who was also tapped to play a character in the show. The BBC/HBO series hired Mat to play the role of ‘Raymond Van Geritt.’ Though the character only appears in the show for about two scenes, this is still a big series to be a part of.
In His Dark Materials, Mat will play one of the Gyptians who question the decision to go and rescue landloper children as well as their own kids. He is not exactly a kind person or sound of mind in the books; maybe they make slight adjustments when the series is released. The creator and the writers of the show already said they are changing a little of the book to fit the current society and political climate.
Watch: The trailer for the first season of His Dark Materials
Mat Fraser is a talented actor, and he deserves more chances on the small as well as the big screen. Even though the actor is looked over because of his deformity, he is talented enough to make his career based on the immense talent the actor possesses.
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