Is That You, Brendan Fraser?


We finally have our first good look at Brendan Fraser’s return to the big screen. To say the actor transformed for his role in Darren Aronofosky’s The Whale would be an understatement. The 53-year-old was required to don a prosthetic suit for his portrayal of Charlie, a 600-pound morbidly obese college professor who is desperate to reconnect with his daughter (Stranger Things‘ Sadie Sink), per Vanity Fair. “The torso piece was almost like a straight jacket, with sleeves that went on, airbrushed by hand, to look identical as would human skin, right down to the hand-punched hair,” the actor told the outlet in September.

Some have voiced accusations of fatphobia, per Entertainment Weekly. That’s likely because cinema has historically portrayed obese people as “fundamentally objects of derision or jokes,” screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter, who adapted the movie from his 2013 stage production of the same name, previously told the outlet. But The Whale is “an invitation” for viewers “to walk in this door and be with this guy,” he added. “If you do take that invitation and go inside, I think you’ll find that this is the diametric opposite of the way obesity has traditionally been portrayed and dealt with in cinema.”

The film, which takes place entirely in Charlie’s apartment save for a few flashbacks, was made in consultation with the Obesity Action Coalition. It premiered in September at the Venice Film Festival to mixed reviews. However, “Fraser’s towering performance was widely acclaimed” and an Academy Award nomination for best actor is “at minimum, nearly a sure thing,” per Vanity Fair. Watchmen‘s Hong Chau, who plays Charlie’s caretaker and friend Liz, also spotted in the teaser, is an awards contender as well. The film premieres in theaters on Dec. 9. (Read more Brendan Fraser stories.)

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