In recent months, Brendan Fraser has been all over the news, receiving standing ovations for his performance in The Whale, despite his apparent disappearance from the industry. Whilst the movie itself is still due to be released, a first look of Fraser in his comeback film was released in July 2022.
The film, which is directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler), sees Fraser play the role of a character who “lives with obesity.” The former 1990s heartthrob, who was known for his role in The Mummy franchise, has undergone a significant physical transformation to play the role of Charlie, who is battling compulsive eating disorder.
Fraser stars alongside Stranger Things Sadie Sink, who plays his 17-year-old daughter. Here is everything you need to know about The Whale and what happened to Brendan Fraser.
Who is Brendan Fraser?
The Canadian-American actor is most known for his role in The Mummy trilogy. Fraser became an overnight heartthrob in the 2000s with the 53-year old playing the leading role in films including: Encino Man, Airheads, George of the Jungle, Dudley Do-Right, Monkeybone, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Inkheart and Furry Vengeance.
The actor withdrew from the limelight over the last decade and was rarely seen in Hollywood films. This role in Whale will be his first time in a leading part since 2013.
What happened to Brendan Fraser?
Fraser rose to fame after his portrayal of Rick O’ Connell in the early 2000s The Mummy films, but has been relatively out of the Hollywood acting scene in the last decade.
In an interview with GQ the actor shared he believed he was blacklisted after he was allegedly sexually assualted at a a 2003 luncheon thrown by Golden Globe organisers, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Fraser claimed that former HFPA president Phillip Berk groped him on the buttocks when he offered to shake hands.
The actor said: “I don’t know if this curried disfavour with the group, with the HFPA. But the silence was deafening.” Berk called the claims a “total fabrication”, although he acknowledged that he had written an apology letter to the actor, he said that it “admitted no wrongdoing.”
He also recalled major health issues following the shooting of The Mummy franchise. According to the GQ interview, the injuries he received from the ancient Egyptian-themed films led to multiple surgeries including a laminectomy, a back procedure to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves; a partial knee replacement; more back surgeries to bolt compressed spinal pads together; vocal cord repair and other procedures.
He said: “I needed a laminectomy. And the lumbar didn't take, so they had to do it again a year later.” All told, Fraser says, he was in and out of hospitals for almost seven years.
What is the Whale movie about?
Whale is an adaptation of the play by Samuel D. Hunter. It tells the story of a reclusive man named Charlie, played by Fraser. Charlie is an English teacher who is battling compulsive eating disorder and is trying to reconnect with his estranged 17-year-old daughter, Ellie who is played by Sink.
The film’s synopsis reads: “A reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.”
Who stars in the Whale?
The film will see Fraser return to the role of leading man, for the first time since the movie Breakout, which went straight to DVD release in 2013.
In Whale, he is joined by Stranger Things Sadie Sink who will play the role of his 17-year-old daughter and Samantha Morton who is known for her roles in The Minority Report and The Messenger. Speaking about the upcoming project, Sink told Vanity Fair: “Darren Aronofsky is obviously brilliant, and working with him was a really formative experience, and Brendan is so incredible in it, and also just probably my favourite human on the planet.
“It was so amazing having that experience with him. I learned a lot about myself as an actress, and tapped into a side of things that I hadn’t really explored before.”
Here is the cast list for Whale:
- Brendan Fraser: Charlie
- Sadie Sink: Ellie
- Samantha Morton: Mary
- Ty Simpkins: Thomas
- Hong Chau: Liz
- Huck Milner: Ben
- Ryan Heinke: Dave
When is the Whale movie coming out in the UK?
The film is set to premiere at the Venice Film Festival in August alongside Pearl and The Eternal Daughter. The film was due to be released in September 2022, but now has a new release date of 3 February, 2023.