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Brendan Fraser Recalls Landing Airheads Even Though He's 'Not a Musician': 'I Don't Play the Guitar'

People 1/18/2023 Jen Juneau

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Brendan Fraser's acting chops were enough to make him believable in the role of a band's lead guitarist, despite not having any musical prowess himself.

"I don't play the guitar," the actor, 54, said on Tuesday's episode of The Drew Barrymore Show, while discussing his character in the 1994 comedy Airheads, one of his first starring film roles.

"I don't think Adam [Sandler] played the drums. I think Steve [Buscemi] could get by on bass pretty well," Fraser continued of his onscreen bandmates in the fictional trio The Lone Rangers.

The Critics Choice Award winner went on to recall how he admitted to the movie's director, Michael Lehmann, at the time that he's "not a musician" — but Lehman, 65, wasn't fazed.

"He goes, 'That's fine, none of those guys are anyway,' " Fraser told host Drew Barrymore, laughing. "So he gave me the job!"

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The Drew Barrymore Show/CBS Drew Barrymore and Brendan Fraser © Provided by People The Drew Barrymore Show/CBS Drew Barrymore and Brendan Fraser

RELATED: Adam Sandler Reunites with Brendan Fraser 28 Years After Airheads: "Remember When I Discovered You?"

Last month, Variety published its Actors on Actors conversation between Fraser and Sandler, who star in the 2022 films The Whale and Hustle, respectively, as they reminisced about making Airheads nearly three decades ago.

"Remember when I discovered you? You were just a kid," Sandler, 56, jokingly told Fraser. "I stole you from Pauly [Shore] and said, 'Get over here.' "

"Is that how it shook out? Get out of here," Fraser responded.

"I was like, this guy shouldn't just be a caveman — he should be in a band," Sandler told Fraser, referencing the actor's breakout role in 1992's Encino Man, in which he played a caveman named Link.

20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock Adam Sandler, Brendan Fraser and Steve Buscemi in Airheads (1994) © Provided by People 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock Adam Sandler, Brendan Fraser and Steve Buscemi in Airheads (1994)

RELATED: Airheads Turns 20: Celebrate with the Dudes from The Lone Rangers

During the conversation, Sandler claimed that Lehmann "was very against" casting Fraser in the movie initially — to the point that Sandler himself stepped in to help get the job done.

"He was like, 'I don't get it. I don't see the caveman being in the movie,' " Sandler said. "And I just said, 'He can do other s---, man.' "

"I eventually went to [Lehmann's] house at like 4 in the morning, woke him up, and I said, 'Just know Adam Sandler ain't going to be in Airheads unless old Fraser is in it,' " he recalled. "So he changed his little tune."

When Fraser noted that Lehmann also "sang a different tune" when he flew to Chicago to meet with Fraser about the film, Sandler joked that the director lied to him.

"He didn't want you. I did, and the rest is pretty good," Sandler said. "You had a good life because of me!"

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