Brendan Fraser offers a humble response to The Whale criticisms surrounding its depiction of morbid obesity and what reassured him in his work.
As Oscar buzz reaches an all-time high for the star, Brendan Fraser has a humble response to The Whale criticisms. Based on Samuel D. Hunter’s play of the same name, the film stars Fraser as a 600-pound English teacher attempting to reconnect with his teenage daughter after leaving her and her mom for his gay lover, who died shortly thereafter. Exploring themes of grief, guilt and remorse, The Whale has specifically drawn a polarized response for its depiction of its morbidly obese lead character.
With awards season in full swing, the Los Angeles Times caught up with Brendan Fraser to reflect on his Oscar-nominated turn in The Whale. When asked about the criticisms directed towards the movie’s depiction of obesity, the star had a humble response, and the reassurance he received during production. See what Fraser said below:
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.
Will The Whale Overcome Its Controversies At The Oscars?
Long before the film made its highly anticipated release, The Whale had sparked debates about Fraser’s central character, including the actor’s use of prosthetics to depict Charlie’s obesity, and the seeming tropes of all overweight people chronically binge eating. Director Darren Aronofsky has spoken in defense of the film on multiple occasions, believing that his and Hunter’s desire for an empathetic approach to the character was far more respectful than others. Fraser has previously criticized modern media’s fatphobic depictions of those similar to The Whale‘s Charlie, while also refusing to call his prosthetics a fat suit.
In spite of the controversy, Fraser’s The Whale performance continues to be the top contender amid the awards season, leading some to wonder whether it will actually factor into the Oscars. The Academy Awards has been no stranger to controversy over the past few years, with this year also seeing Andrea Riseborough under fire for scoring an Oscar nomination following her grassroots campaign to score the nod, though the Academy has confirmed she will get to retain it.
This past month did see Fraser lose the Golden Globe to Austin Butler for his leading turn in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis, though the resurging actor isn’t out of the race yet. More recently, Fraser brought home both the SAG and Critics’ Choice Awards for his The Whale performance, and with his tenuous relationship with the Globes being a source of infamy for years, his various other wins make it seem more likely he can bring home the Oscar. However, it will be interesting to see if Fraser winning for The Whale will help quell these criticisms, or only make them worse.
More: Who Will Win Best Actor At The 2023 Oscars?Source: LA Times