Best known for his leading roles in The Mummy and George of the Jungle, Brendan Fraser is currently earning some Oscar chatter for his new film The Whale, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend.
Adapted from a play by Samuel D. Hunter and directed by Darren Aronofsky, The Whale follows reclusive English teacher Charlie, a 600-pound gay man who suffers from depression and compulsive overeating following the death of his partner. Knowing his eating habits are leading to severe health problems, Charlie tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Ellie (played by Sadie Sink).
According to CNN, audiences reportedly gave the film and Fraser a six-minute standing ovation. A video posted by Variety‘s co-editor in chief Ramin Setoodeh showed the actors’ emotional response.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) September 4, 2022
Fraser spoke to reporters ahead of the premiere, discussing the intense makeup and prosthetics used to play Charlie and how emotionally and physically challenging the role was.
“I needed to learn to move in a new way,” he said. “I developed muscles that I did not know that I had. I even felt a sense of vertigo at the end of the day when all the appliances were removed, just as you would feel stepping off the boat onto the dock here in Venice.”
At times, Fraser was wearing up to 300 extra pounds.
Despite the cons, Fraser also told reporters that he thinks Charlie is the most heroic man he has ever played.
“His superpower is to see the good in others and bring that out,” he said.
Speaking with the New York Times, Aronofsky said he considered all different types of actors for the role. Seeing Fraser in the 2006 low-budget film Journey to the End of the Night made him decide to approach the actor.
The Whale does not have a theatrical date yet.