Brendan Fraser Nearly Lost His Comeback Role 

Brendan Fraser says he almost lost the lead role in The Whale because he caught Covid.

By Sckylar Gibby-Brown | Published

Brendan Fraser was Hollywood’s darling in the late 90s and early 2000s, starring in blockbuster hits like The Mummy and George of the Jungle. Then, shortly after the year 2000, he began to slip away from the spotlight. His new role as Charlie in The Whale is expected to reignite his career, despite some controversial criticisms, though it seems he almost lost this comeback role because he came down with Covid, according to MovieWeb.

Just before The Whale was set to start filming, Brendan Fraser was afraid he might lose the role due to contracting Covid. When he got sick, Fraser feared that the bonding company or insurance for the Oscar-buzzing film would reject his coverage and that he’d be cut from the role. More than losing the job and a role expected to reset his career, Fraser also feared losing his life to the illness.

Luckily, Fraser pulled through, and neither of his worries was manifested. In fact, Brendan Fraser received kind support from the film’s team as they pushed back the filming schedule to accommodate for his recovery, and The Whale director, Darren Aronofsky, even sent Fraser a get-well care package. 

In an alternative reality, had Brendan Fraser lost the role of Charlie, it could have been detrimental to his attempt to revive his acting career. After almost 20 years of minimal work, Fraser finally began his “Brenaissance” after getting cast in The Whale and Batgirl. As Batgirl ended up getting canceled by DC, losing The Whale could have stopped the actor’s resurgence altogether. 

brendan fraser
Brendan Fraser as Charlie in The Whale

Luckily, everything worked out in the end. Not only are critics loving Fraser’s performance as the 600-pound English teacher, but the film is favored to receive many critical awards this upcoming awards season. However, despite the praise, Brendan Fraser will not be attending one of Hollywood’s biggest award ceremonies, the Golden Globes, even if he is nominated for Best Actor.

In 2018, the actor alleged that the Golden Globes former president and member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Phillip Berk, sexually assaulted him in 2003. This has been suspected as being one of many reasons Brendan Fraser stepped away from Hollywood around that time. 

Rather than defend Fraser when the actor reported the assault, the HFPA attempted to have the actor sign a statement that he understood Berk’s action was a joke, and Berk received no professional repercussions. Brendan Fraser did not sign the statement. Berk was later fired for sharing an anti-Black Lives Matter email with his fellow HFPA members.

Overall, Brendan Fraser has received overwhelming support and praise for his comeback role in The Whale. However, some are criticizing the actor for wearing a fat suit in the film and playing a gay man when Fraser is not 600 pounds or gay. Aronofsky has addressed the criticisms, saying that they originally looked for an actor who matched the character’s description but could not find one who could pull off the character’s intense emotions the way that Fraser is able to in his moving performance.

The Whale will premiere in theaters on December 9th.