Brendan Fraser Knows His Whale Performance Didn't Win Everyone Over, But Also Stands By His Choice

Brendan Fraser in The Whale
(Image credit: A24)

We’re currently deep into Awards Season, where the film industry honors its best and most acclaimed movies. Throughout this time Brendan Fraser has been given universal acclaim and countless trophies for his role in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. But that movie has also garnered some backlash, specifically related to the use of extensive prosthesis to transform him into protagonist Charlie. And now Fraser has reacted to the criticism coming for The Whale, addressing those concerns head on.

In The Whale, Brendan Fraser plays a morbidly obese character named Charlie. He went through a ton of prosthesis in order to transform into the role, and accurately depict the way his character would move. Those involved in the film also worked with the Obesity Action Coalition to make sure the story was told with respect. Fraser recently spoke to the LA Times about the backlash to his casting as Charlie, saying:

I respect those who don’t see eye to eye with the aims of this film. I don’t agree with them because I know that there’s no ill intent. I know I want to know if I — me, Brendan — have done any harm. But the answer I got from the OAC was, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing.’ We made the movie we wanted to make, and we made it correctly. And I stand by that.

There you have it. While Brendan Fraser seems to respect those who take umbrage with The Whale, he does not share those concerns. And this is seemingly due to how much care was taken with the portrayal of Charlie for those involved in the movie– especially Fraser himself. We’ll just have to see if he manages to take home the Academy Award for his performance.

Brendan Fraser’s comments to the LA Times come as he’s been attending all sorts of Awards Season event for The Whale. His performance has been winning him a variety of accolades, including a recent SAG win. And during this time he’s no doubt heard some of the concerns surrounding the Aranofsky movie.

Perhaps the biggest criticism pointed at The Whale is that Darren Aronofsky did not cast an obese actor to play Charlie. Mean Girls star Daniel Franzese is one celeb who posed this question, pointing out how few characters there are for queer actors of size. The filmmaker maintains that they searched everywhere when casting the film, and that Fraser was the best man for the job. And while Fraser is the favorite to take home the Oscar for Best Actor, there’s still ongoing discourse about his casting online.

The Whale is currently available for home purchase on places like Amazon, and The Oscars will air March 12th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.