Brenden Fraser never really went away — he’s done tremendous work in The Affair, Doom Patrol, and Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move – but The Whale is his first leading role in a movie since the early 2010s. It’s also director Darren Aronofsky’s first film in five years. Based on Samuel D. Hunter’s play, the internet-favorite The Mummy star plays a “reclusive English teacher who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter,” according to the official plot synopsis. Also, he weighs 600 pounds.
You can watch the trailer above.
“I developed muscles I did not know I had,” Fraser said about The Whale. “I even felt a sense of vertigo at the end of the day when all the appliances were removed; it was like stepping off the dock onto a boat in Venice. That [sense of] undulating. It gave me appreciation for those whose bodies are similar. You need to be an incredibly strong person, mentally and physically, to inhabit that physical being.”
The Whale has faced criticisms for having Fraser, who is neither obese nor gay, play an obese, gay man. “There was a chapter in the making of this film where we tried to research actors with obesity,” Aronofsky said. “Outside of not being able to find an actor who could pull off the emotions of the role, it just becomes a crazy chase. Like, if you can’t find a 600-pound actor, is a 300-pound actor or 400-pound actor enough?”
The Whale, which also stars Sadie Sink and Hong Chau, opens on December 9.