See Brendan Fraser’s Buzzworthy Performance In The First Trailer For The Whale

Brendan Fraser stars as a 600 pound man in the first trailer for Darren Aronofsky's The Whale.

By Michileen Martin | Published

The first trailer for Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale–starring Brendan Fraser as the 600 lb shut-in Charlie–is here. While it’s just about as understated as a trailer for a major motion picture can get, it’s immediately apparent what all the Oscar buzz has been about.

Consisting of fewer than a dozen shots and blurbs of critical praise, the trailer is nonetheless disarmingly effective in awakening your emotions. The contrast of Brendan Fraser as Charlie seemingly ill and on oxygen saying, “People are amazing,” is surprisingly powerful.

Though the trailer neglects to give us a specific date for when we can see Brendan Fraser on the big screen, as reported by Collider and others, the release date has previously been confirmed as Friday, December 9. 

Along with Brendan Fraser, the trailer gives us a chance to see Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) as Charlie’s estranged daughter Ellie and Hong Chau (Watchmen) as his best friend Liz. While we don’t get to see them in the preview, The Whale also stars Samantha Morton (Minority Report) as Charlie’s ex-wife Mary, Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3) as the religious Thomas, and Sathya Sridharan (Minor Premise) as Charlie’s pizza delivery man. The film is directed by the Oscar-nominated Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan).

brendan fraser
Sadie Sink in the trailer for The Whale

The Whale is based on the 2012 stage play of the same name that was written by Samuel D. Hunter (Baskets), who also wrote the screenplay for the adaptation.Years before the events of The Whale, Brendan Fraser’s Charlie abandons his wife and daughter for his lover Alan. Alan later dies, and Charlie medicates his crushing grief with compulsive overeating.  

In the play the Brendan Fraser led film is based upon, Charlie supports himself as an online writing tutor. One day he is unexpectedly shaken by an essay written by one of his students about the classic 1851 Herman Melville novel Moby Dick. Among other things, this leads him to attempt to reconnect with Ellie. 

In spite of how beloved Brendan Fraser has proven to be during his comeback over the past few years, the release of The Whale has not been without controversy. Some have objected to the perceived fatphobic use of prosthetics and a fat suit to help bring his character to life rather than casting someone of similar size. 

Brendan Fraser responded to the criticism with, “I am not a small man, and I don’t know what the metric is to qualify to play the role. I only know that I had to give as honest a performance as I can.” 

Aronofsky argued, “There’s no way you can cast someone to play this job, so we had to use makeup to get there.”

If nothing else, Brendan Fraser fans will likely be thrilled to get this film from the star of The Mummy, after being robbed of his performance as Firefly in Batgirl when the feature was canceled.