Brendan Fraser Reacts To The Whale Acclaim And Standing Ovations

Brendan Fraser as Cliffe Steele in Doom Patrol
(Image credit: HBO Max)

Brendan Fraser’s Hollywood comeback is something that's had many of us incredibly excited. Ever since the first look at Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale dropped, it's felt like the "Brenaissance" train has been rolling at full steam. He's received quite a bit of praise for his role in the drama film and is now opening up about that acclaim and the standing ovations he's gotten.

Brendan Fraser received a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival following the premiere of The Whale. A choked-up Fraser couldn’t help but thank the entire room with a proud bow. In a Variety feature, Fraser explained that the continued round of praises feel "affirming" in a way. In his own words:

It felt so affirming...I was emotional because it was acknowledgment that what we did is making an impact. And that kind of response feels completely new in my professional life.

Early on in his career, the beloved actor starred in notable films like School Ties and Mrs. Winterbourne, before jumping to blockbusters like George of the Jungle, The Mummy and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Fraser natural charisma, humor, and stunt skills quickly connected with viewers. Other than blockbusters, the Bedazzled star also took on more intimate projects like The Quiet American, Crash and the critically acclaimed Gods and Monsters. Still, as the 53-year-old star suggested during the interview, this current level of acclaim is something he'd yet to experience in his career.

Videos of the momentous standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival went viral, and  fans took to Twitter to celebrate Brendan Fraser. Before the movie even made its North American premiere at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, Fraser won the TIFF tribute award for his performance. Batgirl co-director Adil El Arbi also sent his congratulations, while Dwayne Johnson later posted The Mummy memories. The Walking Dead’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan also showed some love for Fraser.

Brendan Fraser seems to be a shoo-in for Best Actor at this point. In the movie, Fraser plays the role of Charlie, a 600-pound gay professor in declining health who aims to repair his relationship with his daughter. It's sure to be an emotional story, and one that could truly strike a chord with audiences. Despite the praise though, his  casting has drawn some criticisms

LGBTQ actor Daniel Franzese shared his feelings on the actor playing an overweight gay man. While he's pleased that the star is getting his comeback moment, he also questioned why Darren Aronofsky didn't cast a queer actor with a body type closer to the character's. Bros' Guy Branum had similar feelings. The Whale actor responded to the critiques, asking what the metric to qualify for such a role would be. Aronofsky also commented on the casting process and explained his rationale for landing on his leading man.

All of that aside, Brendan Fraser is over the moon about the praise he’s been getting for his latest and, overall, he's received a second birth in Hollywood that few people get. And with new roles coming to him via Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon and the upcoming comedy Brothers, the Doom Patrol actor isn’t going anywhere. Be sure to see Fraser's commended performance in the upcoming movie The Whale when it opens in theaters on December 9th. 

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.