October 7, 2022


Health & Fitness

Brendan Fraser: role taught me severely obese people are ‘incredibly strong’

Brendan Fraser: role taught me severely obese people are ‘incredibly strong’


rendan Fraser has shared that his role in new film The Whale made him realise that obese people are “incredibly strong” mentally and physically.

The 53-year-old actor is garnering praise for his performance in the A24 film, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival on Sunday, as he plays reclusive English teacher Charlie, who tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter (played by Stranger Things’ Sadie Sink).

Fraser transformed into a 600lb (272 kg) man for the character and appears nearly unrecognisable in the film, of which he is now tipped for Oscar success next year.

Speaking at a press conference at The Whale premiere on Sunday, September 4, Fraser spoke of the lessons he learned playing the role.

The actor said: “It gave me an appreciation for those whose bodies are similar. I learned that you need to be an incredibly strong person, physically, mentally, to inhabit that being.

“Charlie’s physical mobility is limited to his home space, which is his couch. His story is told behind closed doors. He’s a light in a dark space. I think it’s poetic that the trauma he carries is manifest in the physical weight of his body.

Fraser attends the Venice Film Festival for The Whale on Sunday, September 4

/ Getty Images

“I needed to learn to absolutely move in a new way. I developed muscles I did not know I had. I even felt a sense of vertigo at the end of the day when all the appliances were removed, as you’d feel stepping off a boat on to the dock here in Venice.”

Director Darren Aronofsky recalled feeling “deeply moved” by the play by Samuel D Hunter, which inspired the film (the screenplay of which Hunter also wrote), as he also discussed his casting choice of Fraser at the conference.

Fraser said playing Charlie has been his “biggest challenge” in his career to date

/ Getty Images for DIRECTV

“Casting Charlie was a huge challenge for many different reasons,” Aronofsky said.

“I considered everyone, all different types of actors. But none ever really clicked, it didn’t feel right. A couple of years ago, I caught a trailer from a low-budget Brazilian movie, I saw Brendan in it, and a lightbulb went off.”

Fraser, a former megastar of the late 1990s from hit films George of the Jungle and The Mummy, called his role as Charlie his “biggest challenge”.

He said: “I looked different in those [George of the Jungle] days. My journey to where I am now has been to explore as many characters as I can, and this presented the biggest challenge to me.

“By far I think that Charlie is the most heroic man I have ever played, because his superpower is to see the good in others, and bring that out. In that process, he’s on his journey of salvation.”