Why Batgirl’s Director Hopes Brendan Fraser Wins An Oscar For The Whale (Besides His Performance)

Brendan Fraser in The Whale
(Image credit: A24)

For those who are unaware, we’re currently in the midst of Brendan Fraser’s big Hollywood comeback, also known as the Brenaissance. This is largely thanks to his universally acclaimed performance in Darren Arnofsky’s new drama The Whale. There’s a ton of Academy Awards buzz surrounding that role, and Batgirl director Adil El Arbi recently explained why he hopes Fraser wins the Oscar (besides his performance).

The scrapped Batgirl movie was directed by filmmaking duo Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah, and featured Brendan Fraser as iconic Batman villain Firefly. Unfortunately, it’s unclear if we’ll ever see him in action, as the project was scrapped by Warner Bros. despite it being nearly completed. But the Brenaissance is still going strong, and Adil El Arbi recently joked to Variety about what might happen if Fraser wins the Academy Award for Best Actor. In his words:

He is so, so talented. The way he played that character… It was one of the most memorable villains, so we’ll see. Maybe when he wins his Oscar they’ll want to show the movie.

Touche. The public seems enamored with Brendan Fraser currently, and that should only presumably increase as The Whale gets its wide theatrical release and starts competing during Awards Season. The Mummy icon’s comeback would have originally included his role as Firefly in Batgirl, which was slated to be released on HBO Max in 2022. It doesn’t look like Warner Bros. has any plans to do an about face regarding that movie, but perhaps an Oscar win by Fraser could increase fan campaigns for the scrapped DC flick.

The news of Warner Bros. dropping Batgirl broke the internet, especially since the streaming title was already filmed in its entirety and near completion. Despite the DCEU’s storied history, fans seemed universally disappointed that we’d never see Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s highly anticipated superhero flick. Aside from the introduction of Brendan Fraser as Firefly, the movie was also going to feature the return of J.K. Simmons as James Gordon, as well as (somehow) Michael Keaton as Batman. Batgirl has a ton going for it, which is why its cancellation feels so tragic.

While it would have no doubt been thrilling to see Brendan Fraser playing a beloved Batman foe in Batgirl, his fans can rest easy knowing there’s other forms of content coming from the 54 year-old actor. The Whale is finally getting its wide theatrical release, after receiving countless honors and standing ovations at film festivals. There’s also a new season of Doom Patrol coming, which stars Fraser as Robotman. As a reminder, you can check out the emotional trailer for The Whale below.

Brendan Fraser protagonist Charlie in The Whale, a 600-pound recluse who is attempting to get in touch with his estranged daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink). His emotional performance has been given almost universal praise, although there’s been some backlash over the use of a body suit and prosthesis. Mean Girls actor Daniel Franzese is one person of note who has offered criticism, namely that an actor of size wasn’t given the chance to inhabit such a layered character.

The Whale will hit theaters on December 9th. In the meantime, check out the 2023 movie release dates to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year. Brendan Fraser has some exciting projects coming up, including the new Martin Scorsese movie. Although it's unclear if Batgirl will ever see the light of day. 

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.