The Whale: why did Aronofsky choose Brendan Fraser for the role?

After being sidelined in Hollywood, Brendan Fraser is making a huge comeback with “The Whale.” Director Darren Aronofsky explained why he chose this actor to play a 272-kilo man, depressed and suffering from uncontrolled overeating syndrome.

The Whalethe big comeback of Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser will have known dark hours in his career. While he was a leading actor in the 1990s – notably with The Mummy (1999) – he began to appear less and less in Hollywood in the 2000s. According to the actor, in 2003 he would have been victim of sexual assault by Philip Berk, former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. After that, Brendan Fraser would have been blacklisted.

But in recent years the actor has returned to the fore. First with series, like his performance in Trust (2018) which will have marked the spirits. Or with Doom Patrol (2019). Even if we see him little on screen, he remains inseparable from the character of Robotman, to whom he lends his voice. On the cinema side, we saw him shoot for Steven Soderbegh in No Sudden Move. And it was long awaited in spite of Batgirlbut the feature film was unfortunately thrown in the trash by Warner.

James Fletcher Chace (Brendan Fraser) – Trust ©FX

Regardless, Brendan Fraser managed to make a resounding comeback with The Whale. The actor won acclaim at the Venice Film Festival for Darren Aronofsky’s film. And we already see in him a big favorite for the next Oscars.

It must be said that with The Whale, Brendan Fraser was offered a particular role. Charlie’s, a man who weighs 272 kilos, who suffers from uncontrolled binge eating syndrome and trying to reconnect with her seventeen-year-old daughter. For this, the actor had to wear a suit weighing up to 150 kilograms. An equally deep and moving role according to the feedback on the film. In all cases, Darren Aronofsky trusted Brendan Fraser to play this character, and it paid off.

Darren Aronofsky’s choice

In a long file of varietythe filmmaker explained to have long searched for the right person for this role. For years, Darren Aronofsky would have met tons of actors. But it was only after coming across the trailer for a “low-budget brazilian film” in which Brendan Fraser played, that he felt he could do the job. He then met him, and quickly understood that he had to be hired.

As soon as he left my office after our first meeting, I felt him. I knew he was going to be able to play someone that most people would initially reject. But in less than five minutes, they were going to feel something for him. Then, after twenty minutes, they’ll start to fall in love with the character, because there’s something special about Brendan. And pretty soon, he starts to break your heart.

Brendan Fraser and Darren Aronofsky
Brendan Fraser and Darren Aronofsky ©Variety

A Different Mickey Rourke Comeback

A beautiful tribute from Darren Aronofsky to Brendan Fraser who will have given everything for this role.

If I don’t approach every day of work as if it’s the first and last time I play, then I’m not the man for the job. With this film, all I had to offer is everything you see on screen.

Aronofsky went on to compare Brendan Fraser to another former glory he may have managed, Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler (2009). According to him, the latter had around him a “negative energy because of the middle finger he gave to the industry“. But concerning Brendan Fraser, the situation remains very different because he was lovedbut did not have the opportunity to show all its facets“.

This is indeed felt in all the feedback on the film and the enthusiasm around Fraser’s performance. To discover it in France, you will have to wait February 22, 2023. After which, perhaps, the actor will win his first statuette during OscarsMarch 12, 2023.

We would love to give thanks to the writer of this write-up for this remarkable material

The Whale: why did Aronofsky choose Brendan Fraser for the role?