Remember the stepmother in Why Gilbert Grape Grieves whose life was spent on the sofa? Her image, which for decades was a symbol of morbid obesity, will get a male version this year, played by Brendan Fraser in the movie The Whale.
The production is directed by Darren Aronofsky (“Mother”) and headlines this year’s Venice Film Festival. Although the world premiere is set for the end of the year, Fraser shared his impressions of the character and the story that brings him back to the big screen
“That was the biggest challenge for me. Charlie is the most heroic man I’ve ever played. His superpower is finding the good in people and showing it to them. It’s a journey that has to save him. She was great opportunity to play the role of a human being with such a rich life story,” said the actor during the press conference in Venice.
The Whale is a psychological drama centered on Charlie, a lonely, morbidly obese English teacher who tries to bond with his estranged daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink).
The film follows the compulsive eating habit as a method of coping with trauma and the prejudices with which society views fatter people.
“Unfortunately, most obese people portrayed in the media are treated horribly – they are either humiliated or just live in misery. Charlie is not that kind of person. Obesity is just one part of his character and I hope viewers see that.” , shared Darren Aronofsky.
To play Charlie, Brendan Fraser wore prosthetics weighing between 50 and 300 kilograms depending on the scene and developed the mobility typical of overweight people.
“I had to learn to move in a new way. I developed muscles I didn’t think I had. When my suit was taken off at the end of the day, I felt dizzy. I completely put myself in the position of people with similar bodies. I realized that you have to be an incredibly strong person – physically and mentally, to live like this”, says the actor.
The director, on the other hand, explains that the choice of the person who will carry Charlie’s extra pounds was a long one. Specifically, a 10-year-old.
“Casting for the role was very difficult. I thought about every movie star, but no name moved me until I saw a low-budget Brazilian film with Brendan and something clicked in me,” says Aronofsky.
The director immediately called Fraser and arranged to read a few pages of the script with the actress who had already been cast as Ellie Sadie Sink (Stranger Things).
“It gave me chills watching them interact,” Aronofsky says.
The script for The Whale was inspired by Sam Hunter’s play, and from the first time he saw it, Aronofsky was determined to turn it into a film.
“I knew the launch material would give us space to engage the audience,” he says.
As for the space, Fraser adds that the footage shot in the film is not varied in terms of location.
“Charlie’s walks are limited to the rooms of his home. His story is told behind closed doors. He is a light in a dark space. It is poetic that the trauma he carries is transformed into his physical body,” commented the actor.
And when asked about his roller-coaster career, Brendan Fraser is more philosophical.
“Yes, there were days when I looked different. But my desire has always been to explore as many characters as possible. I look forward to seeing this film (The Whale) to impress you as it impressed me,” he commented. Fraser.
The world premiere of The Whale is scheduled for December 9 this year.