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‘The Whale’ New Trailer: Brendan Fraser Just Wants Redemption

A24 and Darren Aronofsky reveal a broader look at the upcoming melodrama about a gay 600-pound online English teacher.

The Whale

“The Whale”

A24

“I need to know that I have done one thing right with my life.” So says Brendan Fraser’s Charlie in the new trailer for “The Whale.” Charlie, a gay 600-pound online English teacher estranged from his daughter and divorced from his alcoholic ex-wife, has decided to die. But before he does, he wants to make amends with the daughter (played by Sadie Sink) he abandoned for his male lover, who is now dead. Directed by Darren Aronofsky from the 2012 play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter, “The Whale” is now in limited release and has enjoyed one of the best indie debuts of the year. As the A24 movie prepares to expand on December 21 and Fraser readies for awards season thanks to his staggering performance, check out the new trailer for the film below.

The last trailer was released on Election Day and seemingly showed no footage of Fraser, who wore a prosthetic that added up to 300 pounds to the actor, from head to toe. This trailer offers more of a glimpse of actual footage, including of Hong Chau, who plays Charlie’s doting but tough-loving caretaker. Samantha Morton co-stars as Charlie’s ex-wife while Ty Simpkins plays a religious Latter Day Saints missionary who comes into his life unannounced.

The movie has faced criticisms over possible fatphobia, though the lead star and the filmmakers have doubled down to say that the depiction of Charlie came from a place of empathy.

“People with obesity are generally written as bad guys or as punchlines,” Aronofsky told Yahoo. “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.”

“The lengths we went to portray the realism of the make-up has never been done before,” he added. “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.”

“Out of respect, we never weighed the components of it,” Fraser told IndieWire of the film’s prostheses. “I didn’t want to know. All it was important to me was that yes, it was cumbersome, and understandably and rightfully so. That way it would differentiate itself, the look of Charlie’s body from what we’ve seen in films and forever years past, and believe me, we looked at everything. We looked at — I won’t name names — but we looked at all the films where actors were in similar attire and outfits and it was either just in service of a cheap joke, or a way to cast scorn or derision on a character for reasons that appeal to the bias that we hold against people who live with obesity. It always just seemed like a cheap shot.”

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