Brendan Fraser has responded to criticism surrounding the use of a fat suit for his new role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, which is tipped for Oscar success. Fraser plays a grief-stricken professor who is 600 pounds, and the film follows his relationship with his daughter played by Stranger Things‘ Sadie Sink.
Much has been made of Fraser’s “comeback” for the role, which is the kind of Hollywood story that the Academy love. And while Fraser may look different now to his George of the Jungle days, he also is not 600 pounds. Therefore, the role required the use of a controversial fat suit.
Speaking to Newsweek, Fraser said; “I’m not a small man. And I don’t know what the metric is to qualify to play the role. I only know that I had to give as honest a performance as I can.” Aronofsky said; “There’s no way you can cast someone to play this job, so we had to use make-up to get there. Most of the people that are playing critique have not seen the film. So I welcome everyone to see the film because the film is about bringing empathy to characters that you don’t expect to feel for.”
“I’m hopeful that we can change some hearts and minds at least in terms of how we think and feel about those who live with obesity,” Fraser added. “So often, those people are dismissed in our society, or the object of scorn and derision, and it’s unfair to them. I believe that shaming people for that reason is almost the last domain of prejudice that we overlook, and I think we can do better to change that. So I hope that this film might change some hearts and minds.”
Creating Fraser’s appearance in The Whale was partly accomplished with prosthetics as well as some post-shoot CGI. Oscar-nominated movie make-up creator Adrien Morot is credited with creating the prosthetics won by Fraser.
While you wait to see The Whale for yourself when it opens on December 9, check out our guide to the best drama movies.