Brendan Fraser Addresses Criticisms Of Him Wearing A Fat Suit In The Whale

Brendan Fraser’s Hollywood comeback is in full swing, as the beloved actor has received massive praise for his role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. As a result, some have already declared Fraser to be the Best Actor frontrunner for this year’s Oscars race. Despite the praise though, the star has received some criticism due to the fact that he donned a fat suit to play the lead role in the drama. A number of notable stars have spoken out on the matter as of late and, now, Fraser himself is addressing the critiques he’s received. 

Many have argued that when it came to The Whale, Darren Aronofsky should’ve opted to cast an actor who was actually closer in size to the movie’s lead character, Charlie, who’s meant to be 600 pounds. Brendan Fraser addressed the controversy during an interview with Newsweek. In doing so, the actor referenced his own physique while referencing one aspect of the discourse: 

I'm not a small man. And I don't know what the metric is to qualify to play the role. I only know that I had to give as honest a performance as I can.

Based on his comments, it would seem that the Mummy alum isn’t sure who would’ve been the optimal candidate for such a role. He also conveys that his goal was to give an authentic performance for the drama. That approach seems to have paid off, as the actor has since received a TIFF Award and other honors so far. However, that praise doesn’t exactly quell any of the honest feelings that some have shared.

Mean Girls alum Daniel Franzese is among those who’s shared thoughts on the matter. While the actor is happy for Brendan Fraser amid his comeback, he did question why a larger actor couldn’t be cast for the role instead of a performer who needed to use a fat suit. Fraser’s character is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and Franzese also opined that a queer actor could’ve been tapped for the role. Bros star Guy Branum – who’s also rooting for Fraser during this period of his career – also asked that filmmakers consider “how much we are representing queer life and fat life through straight actors or prosthetics.” 

Darren Aronofsky, who’s formed a tight bond with Brendan Fraser, also discussed the backlash while speaking with Newsweek. With this, the director argues that for this particular role, it would’ve been difficult to cast an actor who didn’t seem some kind of prosthetics to pull off the performance:

There's no way you can cast someone to play this job, so we had to use makeup to get there. Most of the people that are playing critique have not seen the film. So I welcome everyone to see the film because the film is about bringing empathy to characters that you don't expect to feel for.

Only time will tell how the general public will react to Brendan Fraser and Darren Aronofsky’s analysis of the controversy. As for Fraser’s performance, we’ll just have to wait and see what he delivers when the film opens in theaters on December 9 as part of the schedule of upcoming movies.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.