A total transformation. Brendan Fraser plays a 600-pound man living with obesity in Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming film The Whale.
“It’s gonna be like something you haven’t seen before,” Fraser, 53, told Unilad of the project in October 2021. “That’s really all I can tell you. … The wardrobe and costume was extensive, seamless, cumbersome. This is certainly far removed from anything I’ve ever done. … I do know it’s going to make a lasting impression.”
A first photo from the film shared via A24’s official Twitter account shows the Mummy actor in character as Charlie. The Whale will premiere at the 79th Venice Film Festival later this summer.
Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink plays Fraser’s estranged teenage daughter, Ellie in the psychological drama. The 20-year-old actress talked about the movie during a June interview with Collider.
“It was a really small cast and a small set, and we had a whole three weeks of rehearsal and Darren kind of wanted to treat it as if it were a play, because The Whale originally was a play. The way he staged it and the way we rehearsed it, the same as you would do in a theater company, he taped the walls of the set and everything so that we could rehearse in a mock space I guess,” she told the outlet.
The Fear Street Trilogy star added that the Aronofsky drama was “just a really creatively fulfilling project to work on.”
The Whale is the latest film to stir up controversy regarding actors wearing fat suits. After the project was announced in January 2021, author and podcaster Aubrey Gordon shared the announcement via Twitter, writing, “It is so disheartening, exhausting and profoundly isolating to see this concept created over & over & over again, and reliably created by people who aren’t fat. Fellow fats (people who currently wear plus sizes): how are you feeling?”
In March, Renée Zelwegger defended her decision to wear a fat suit for her TV series The Thing About Pam.
“The idea is accuracy,” the 53-year-old Oscar winner, who plays real-life convicted murderer Pam Hupp in the show, told Entertainment Tonight. “I think, especially in the case of telling this story, it was really important to as closely resemble Pam Hupp as we possibly could, because she seems so familiar. She seems like someone that we recognize and we know.”
However, not all actors who’ve played plus-sized characters feel confident in their decisions after further reflection. Sarah Paulson admitted to having regrets about wearing a body prosthetic to portray Linda Tripp in Impeachment: American Crime Story.
“I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully. And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on,” the American Horror Story star, who also gained 30 pounds for the role, told the Los Angeles Times in August 2021. “I also know it’s a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn’t have. You can only learn what you learn when you learn it.”