In an emotional interview with fellow ‘90s movie actor Freddie Prinze Jr for Interview Magazine, Brendan Fraser, who is currently on a press tour promoting drama movie The Whale, shared some insight into what it is like to be an actor.
Although he shot to fame thanks to adventure movies like The Mummy and George of the Jungle, Fraser has turned to more dramatic roles in the wake of his much-hyped renaissance and comeback. In The Whale, for instance, he plays Charlie — an English professor struggling with grief, health problems, and binge eating issues following the death of his partner as he tries to rebuild his relationship with his estranged teenage daughter.
Discussing how he immerses himself into these roles, Fraser noted, “We actors always go, ‘I want to disappear into this role,’ and it’s a way to do it so that you can be unrecognizable and show a different side of yourself, and have that layer of protection going, ‘It’s not really me. It’s the mask.’ It’s like a best-kept secret. Maybe we shouldn’t talk about it!”
Fraser then went on to discuss how he prepared for the role of Charlie specifically, explaining, “Everything was mapped out, so it was quite analytical. Darren gave me a flowchart of the hero’s journey that Charlie takes throughout the five days that we meet him, and the level of pain that he goes through. With Sam Hunter’s script each line of dialogue worked like a Jenga puzzle, so there was no playing fast and loose with it.”
He continued, “We rehearsed for three weeks on a taped-out floor in a stage space somewhere in Newburgh, New York, so that by the time we got to set, there wasn’t any need to make discoveries apart from the alchemy of what actors do together on the day.”
“And the thing is, whoever’s watching this is bringing an agenda of sorts to the film, and after about five minutes of watching Charlie you feel empathy for him, but not necessarily because he’s infinitely likable or anything like that. I think it has more to do with an audience reorienting the way they thought before they walked in the door.”
“I was alone when I saw it the first time, and I thought I was watching a movie that I knew nothing about, but it was me. When I saw it, I felt like this could really change some hearts and minds in how we care for one another.”
The Whale is set to be released on February 3, 2o23. In the meantime, if you need content that pulls at the heartstrings, check out our guide to the best drama series. Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a bit more lighthearted, check out our selection of the best feel-good movies.