16 JANUARY 2009

Brendan Fraser's new big screen role, in fantasy thriller Inkheart, couldn't have gone to a more fitting actor – literally. When German author Cornelia Funke penned the novel on which the film was based, she modelled the main character on the Canadian-raised movie star. His genuine personality and melodious voice was perfect, she thought.

Brendan, who launched the new project in New York this week, admits that when he was told he inspired the book-reading, adventure-loving protagonist Mortimer Folchart, he thought someone was playing a joke on him. "I could feel my leg getting pulled," he says.

Impressed by the plot - in which his character realises he can bring the protagonist from his favourite books to life by reading the stories aloud - The Mummy star signed up for the project. The villain of the piece is played by British Da Vinci Code actor Paul Bettany, who was accompanied to the Big Apple launch by his American wife Jennifer Connelly.

Photo: Getty Images
The author of the novel on which the film is based had the Canadian-raised actor - pictured presenting the new flick in the Big Apple this week with co-star Paul Bettany - in mind when she created his character
Photo: Getty Images
Paul's beautiful actress wife Jennifer Connelly accompanied her other half to the launch