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Darren Aronofsky is surprised by The Whale fatsuit controversy

Darren Aronofsky has addressed the controversy over the use of a 300 pound fatsuit in The Whale, saying the film is an 'exercise in empathy.'

The Whale

Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale has had an extensive tour around film festivals and now is deep into ‘awards season’ promotion. The main narrative around the film has been Brendan Fraser’s ‘comeback’ and he is being pushed extremely hard for a Best Actor Oscar.

The film has been subject to controversy because Fraser wears a ‘fatsuit’ that approximately doubles his weight. This has left audiences feeling conflicted regarding the movie.

Speaking to Yahoo, Aronofsky responded to the controversy, saying; “Actors have been using makeup since the beginning of acting — that’s one of their tools. And the lengths we went to to portray the realism of the make-up has never been done before. One of my first calls after casting Brendan was to my makeup artist, Adrien Morot. I asked him, ‘Can we do something that’s realistic?’ Because if it’s going to look like a joke, then we shouldn’t do it.”

“People with obesity are generally written as bad guys or as punchlines,” Aronofsky continues. “We wanted to create a fully worked-out character who has bad parts about him and good parts about him; Charlie is very selfish, but he’s also full of love and is seeking forgiveness. So [the controversy] makes no sense to me. Brendan Fraser is the right actor to play this role, and the film is an exercise in empathy.”

Critics and audiences who have seen the movie have certainly been divided on whether The Whale is “an exercise in empathy” or not. It’s now on general release in the US and Canada if you want to check it out for yourself. The Whale will be in cinemas in the UK and Australia at the start of February 2023.

You may decide that you only want to see it once. The Whale is just one of several drama movies hoping for Oscar success in 2023, check back here for full coverage in March.