Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale features an almost unrecognizable Brendan Fraser, with the actor undergoing a significant transformation for the role. Brendan Fraser’s weight gain in The Whale and his stunning transformation overall impressed the Academy, and the film has been nominated for three Oscars in 2023. Brendan Fraser’s roles in many of the most successful movies of the 1990s cemented him as one of the decade’s biggest global megastars. After a time out of the spotlight, Fraser’s career is once again looking overwhelmingly positive, with his role in the Darren Aronofsky drama just one of many exciting upcoming projects for the beloved actor.
Based on a play by Samuel D. Hunter, The Whale follows Brendan Fraser’s Charlie, a middle-aged man who becomes a 600-pound recluse after binge-eating to deal with the guilt of leaving his family for his gay lover. As well as Brendan Fraser, The Whale stars Sadie Sink as Ellie, Charlie’s daughter with whom he seeks to reconnect. Hong Chau as his nurse Liz, Samantha Morton as Charlie’s ex-wife Mary, and Ty Simpkins as a church missionary named Thomas who visits Charlie frequently. Here’s Brendan Fraser’s weight gain in The Whale explained.
What We Know About Brendan Fraser’s Whale Movie Transformation
Brendan Fraser’s weight gain in The Whale is the result of a mixture of make-up, prosthetics, and CGI. In the film, Fraser dons a fatsuit (which sparked some fatphobia controversy), and the fatsuit itself was digitally altered in post-production to fully look like Fraser weighed 600 lbs. Speaking with Newsweek, Fraser described “the wardrobe and costume [as] extensive, seamless, cumbersome,” hinting at the difficulty involved with the physical portrayal of Charlie. Fraser also added that The Whale is “certainly far removed from anything [he’s] ever done.”
Why Brendan Fraser’s Whale Movie Transformation Is Divisive
It’s no secret that Hollywood failed Brendan Fraser – with the actor’s career taking a major hit after he made allegations of sexual assault against one-time HFPA president Phillip Berk. The Whale marks just one of the many roles of Fraser’s anticipated comeback, but the role of Charlie is a divisive one. Due to Brendan Fraser’s weight gain in The Whale, he’s wearing prosthetics in order to portray the 600-pound Charlie, and therefore, The Whale is being accused of fatphobia.
The potential for The Whale to offend is certainly high. The subject matter is a sensitive subject for many and its approach needed to be carefully measured in order to dispel the justified concerns about the film. However, Fraser’s own journey helped ease concerns about the sensitivity of The Whale – after fighting monsters in The Mummy movies, Brendan Fraser’s career lull led to weight gain, and the actor was himself subjected to body shaming. As a result, the actor’s personal journey may help lend a more sympathetic tone to The Whale‘s story.
Brendan Fraser’s Dramatic Transformation Helped The Whale’s 2023 Oscar Chances
While Brendan Fraser’s weight gain in The Whale may have sparked controversy, his astounding transformation greatly influenced the 2023 Oscars, as The Whale was nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. It has steep competition, facing Elvis, The Batman, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. First time Best Actor nominee Fraser shone in the role of Charlie as his humanistic yet subtle performance was rewarded. Fraser is not without competition in this regard, which he also faced at the Golden Globes, where he was also nominated. Finally, actress Hong Chau was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in The Whale.