There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the upcoming release of The Whale after it made waves in the film festival scene, but there are some who have “conflicted” thoughts about the film. Directed by Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler, Black Swan), the film stars Brendan Fraser in what some are saying could be his most compelling role yet. In the movie, Fraser plays a 600-pound gay man hoping to reconnect with his teenage daughter (Sadie Sink) after abandoning his family many years prior.
With the early reviews for The Whale, there has been some Oscar buzz for Fraser with some feeling the role could earn him a Best Actor nomination. Speaking about the film in a new interview with People, actor Daniel Franzese (Looking, Mean Girls) commented that he had mixed thoughts about Fraser’s casting. While he “loves” Fraser, Franzese can’t help but feel that The Mummy star’s casting has taken away an opportunity from “actors like me and my colleagues.” As Franzese puts it:
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“I love Brendan Fraser, [so] I’m very conflicted. Seeing him get up so modest in Venice and have that moment, I was very happy for him. He’s a lovely man. And it’s great. But why? Why go up there and wear a fat suit to play a 400-lb. queer man? To finally have a chance to be in a prestige film that might be award-nominated, where stories about people who look like us are being told? That’s the dream. So when they go time and time again and cast someone like Brendan Fraser, me and the other big queer guys, we’re like, ‘What the … ?’ We can’t take it!”
Franzese goes on to praise Aronofsky as one of his favorite directors, but at the same time, the actor feels slighted that he couldn’t have had the chance to read for that role. He also criticizes the use of a fat suit, which has come under fire in other projects as of late as well.
“I would have loved to have read for this. I mean, who knows more about being an obese queer man than an obese queer man? But I guess you can go ahead and wear a fat suit and do what you got to do and get your Oscar. We’ll just sit here, waiting.”
The actor also suggests that one reason why more openly gay actors aren’t tested for main roles in situations like this is that it would make the movie harder to sell in some international markets.
“Even if America is ready for a gay person in the lead like that, they have a hard time selling the movie overseas, so they get scared. But it’s going to take risk-takers and real trailblazers to let us cut our teeth in these roles as actors so we, too, can have a shot at a full career in Hollywood.”
Darren Aronofsky Spent Years Looking for His Lead Star in The Whale
The Whale was a project Aronofsky had in the works for about a decade. All throughout that time, the filmmaker had great trouble in settling on the right actor for the lead role. Speaking about Fraser’s casting in a previous Variety interview, Aronofsky says he had thought of pretty much every actor in Hollywood, but nobody felt right until he just so happened to see a trailer featuring Fraser.
“I considered everyone — all types of different actors, every single movie star on the planet. But none of them ever really clicked. It just didn’t move me, or feel right. A couple years ago, I caught a trailer from a Brazilian movie, a low-budget [movie], and I saw Brendan in the trailer and a lightbulb went off. I hadn’t seen Gods and Monsters or George of the Jungle. Seeing him in there, it just clicked. I asked Brendan to come meet me…it just kept clicking.”
The Whale will be hitting movie theaters on Dec. 9, 2022, via A24.