Before starring in The Whale, it had been quite some time since Brendan Fraser had been a leading man in Hollywood. We all remember his rise to fame, which was boosted by his role in Encino Man and as the titular George in George of the Jungle, but in the mid-2000s, Fraser was a lot more selective about his roles before taking a few years off from acting. Though he was still going strong in the “voicing cute animated creatures” department.
The actor played a handful of some minor (but still well-loved) roles over the years before landing on Charlie in The Whale, a 600-lb high school teacher who is trying to mend his bond with his daughter. Fraser’s portrayal of Charlie has earned him several monumental nominations, including one for an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and, the most prestigious of all, the Philadelphia Film Critics award for best actor (which he won).
Even though he was missed from the spotlight, Fraser recently opened up about how he didn’t feel like he could take on a role like this until now. The actor recently told Deadline, “I didn’t have the life experience or the heartache. I hadn’t been a father long enough 10 years ago to appreciate what it means to have a young person in your life.” Fraser has three kids who are all teenagers, so they have probably seen Airheads by now. But still, he felt like he needed more time to be a dad before actually playing one.
Fraser also addressed the backlash surrounding being cast as a 600 lb man who needed a ton of prosthetics. “When this film was over, I had an unexpected reaction to taking off Charlie’s body the last time; I was really emotionally moved,” he explained before adding that he understood why it might have been off-putting. “I felt a strange sense of survivor’s guilt because I could take him off at the end of the day, and I’ve met people who live like that until they didn’t live anymore. I’ve had to take a page of my own sermon and rethink if I’ve been culpable or demeaning and overlooked them. Even if I did accidentally, I don’t ever want to do that again going forward.”
Next up, Fraser will go against several of his Hollywood peers in the Best Actor category at the Oscars, but he’s already won in everyone’s hearts, so they should just call the whole thing off anyway and replace the ceremony with a screening of Journey To The Center Of The Earth. It’s what everyone really wants, anyway! Get Josh Hutcherson back on the big screen!