There are transformative performances, and then there is what Brendan Fraser did for “The Whale.” The actor is almost unrecognizable under layers of makeup and prosthetics as he portrays a 600-lb. man in Darren Aronofsky’s dark drama based on the play by Samuel D. Hunter.
“It’s gonna be like something you haven’t seen before,” Fraser recently said of his performance. “That’s really all I can tell you…The wardrobe and costume was extensive, seamless, cumbersome. This is certainly far removed from anything I’ve ever done but not to be coy…I do know it’s going to make a lasting impression.”
That lasting impression may leave Fraser well-positioned to compete for Oscar gold next year. Aronofsky has a very strong track record when it comes to directing actors. Ellen Burstyn was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in “Requiem for a Dream”; Mickey Rourke and Marissa Tomei both scored nominations for “The Wrestler”; and Natalie Portman took home an Oscar for her performance in “Black Swan.” If nothing else, the film has already seen a strong launch for its award campaign, as it played both the Venice International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival this fall.
According to the official synopsis from A24, “The Whale” tells the story of “a reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity [who] attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.”
“The Whale” is directed by Aronofsky and written by Hunter. It stars Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Samantha Morton, Ty Simpkins, Hong Chau, Huck Milner, Sathya Sridharan, and Ryan Heinke. The film is the latest in a series of comeback roles for Fraser, who is returning to serious acting after years of languishing in small roles. In addition to “The Whale,” he will also be seen next year in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
A24 opens “The Whale” on December 9. Watch the trailer below.