Entertainment Movies Brendan Fraser Credits Matt Damon for Helping Him Get Breakout Role in 'School Ties' Brendan Fraser recalled how going "shoulder to shoulder" with Matt Damon helped launch his film career with a lead role in the 1992 drama School Ties By Jen Juneau Jen Juneau Twitter Jen Juneau is a digital news writer for PEOPLE since 2016. People Editorial Guidelines Published on December 16, 2022 11:36 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Brendan Fraser (L); Matt Damon. Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Variety via Getty Images; Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock Brendan Fraser is extended major gratitude to fellow actor Matt Damon. The two actors costarred in the 1992 drama School Ties, a film that marked both of their first lead silver-screen roles. And in a recent interview with IMDb, The Whale actor thanks Damon for helping him get the part. "When I did my screen test for School Ties with Matt Damon, I was pretty fresh out of the academy — and it was a test, you know? You're challenged for a reason, to see if you have a place in this world, in this medium, in this format," Fraser, 54, recalled. "And I gotta say, it was Matt who I matched pitch with. I just knew inherently — not copy him, but run alongside, shoulder to shoulder." The result? "I think it worked – I got the job! So I have him to thank for that," the Golden Globe nominee raved. Set in the 1950s, School Ties follows 17-year-old David, a Jewish high-school student from a working-class family (Fraser) who attends an elite prep school on a scholarship his senior year. There, he faces anti-Semitism and bullying from students and teachers, including Charlie (Damon, 52). Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories. Matt Damon and Brendan Fraser in School Ties (1992). John Seakwood/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock Brendan Fraser Reveals We Have All Been Saying His Name Wrong Fraser recently threw it back to his early career days in a conversation with his Airheads (1994) costar Adam Sandler for Variety's Actors on Actors series. "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 role in 1992's Encino Man, in which he played a caveman named Link. RELATED VIDEO: Brendan Fraser's Amazing Career and Inspiring Comeback: Thank You for "Keeping Me in the Job That I Love" Fraser first rose to fame in the early '90s and, later that decade, with roles in comedy films such as George of the Jungle, but achieved commercial success for his role in The Mummy franchise. Following a string of box-office successes in the late 1990s and 2000s, the actor stepped out of the spotlight amid various personal issues, including multiple surgeries and the death of his mother Carol. Now, Fraser is making his career comeback, which has since been dubbed the "Brenaissance" on TikTok. He currently stars in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale as Charlie, a 600-lb. reclusive writing instructor who tries to repair his relationship with his estranged teenage daughter, Ellie (Stranger Things star Sadie Sink). The Whale, playing in select theaters now, opens nationwide Dec. 21.