Brendan Fraser’s had a rough road back to the spotlight, but his return has paid off. The actor’s been offered a much more diverse range of roles since wooing his way back into audiences’ hearts in the 2010s, playing the foul-mouthed superhero Robotman in Doom Patrol and a scene-stealing mob thug in Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move. He’s even landed a role in the upcoming Martin Scorsese crime drama Killers of the Flower Moon. But the movie he appears to be the most tight-lipped about is Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming drama The Whale.
Speaking to Unilad last week about No Sudden Move, the interviewer couldn’t help but bring up the subject of The Whale. Unilad said just mentioning the movie made Fraser smile, and yet his response was “It’s gonna be like something you haven’t seen before. That’s really all I can tell you.” Brendan Fraser was equally coy when asked about the film by Newsweek in June, though he did say shooting had already finished and that it required prosthetics and a costume which the actor described as “extensive, seamless, cumbersome.”
Considering what is known about the film, what Brendan Fraser had to say about the costumes and prosthetics shouldn’t be a surprise. The Whale is based on the 2012 play of the same name written by Samuel D. Hunter, who adapted the screenplay from his own original work. Fraser’s character is a morbidly obese recluse named Charlie who is hoping to reconnect with his daughter Ellie. Years before the events of The Whale, Charlie abandons Ellie and her mother for his lover Alan. He medicates his grief with compulsive overeating, eventually ballooning up to 600 pounds. In the play, per Vulture‘s review of the stage production, Charlie supports himself as an online writing tutor, and finds unexpected inspiration in a simple but direct essay about the Herman Melville classic Moby Dick.
Plot-wise, The Whale doesn’t sound terribly complicated so Brendan Fraser’s silence about the film likely has little to do with plot details or spoilers. In most likelihood, he’s being tight-lipped because of how Aronofsky plans to handle the subject matter. The Oscar-nominated director of films like Black Swan, The Wrestler, and Requiem for a Dream is known for his surreal and often disturbing imagery and whatever he’s planning to do with The Whale will likely shock and move audiences as much as his previous films.
While we don’t know a lot about how Aronofsky intends to visually present The Whale, there is news about the cast joining Brendan Fraser. In February Hong Chau (HBO’s Watchmen) was cast as Charlie’s best friend and caregiver Liz, and the following month Ty Simpkins (Insidious) landed the role of Thomas, a religious man looking to save Charlie’s soul. IMDb lists Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) as Charlie’s estranged daughter Ellie and Samantha Morton (Minority Report) as his ex-wife Mary. It also lists Sathya Sridharan (Bikini Moon) in an unnamed role, though if he is in the film a likely candidate is Charlie’s dead lover Alan, since most of the other parts are spoken for.