The Whale: Brendan Fraser says obesity isn’t a ‘one-note joke’ in new film after first pictures released

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Brendan Fraser has defended his casting as an obese man in forthcoming film The Whale.

In July, the first image was released showing Fraser in the role of a middle-aged man who “lives with obesity”.

To inhabit the part for the film, which marks Fraser’s first leading role in nearly a decade, the actor underwent a significant physical transformation. He also used prosthetics.

Speaking to Vanity Fair, Fraser said that he never wanted weight to become a “one-note joke” within The Whale.

“I looked at other body suits that had been used in comedies over the years, usually for a one-note joke,” Fraser explained.

“Whether intended or not, the joke is, it defies gravity. This was not that.”

Vanity Fair also notes that film studio A24 did not provide any more photos of Fraser, including any showcasing his full body transformation, for the feature.

The Whale is directed by Darren Aronofsky, based on Samuel D Hunter’s 2012 play of the same name.

The first image of Fraser in ‘The Whale’ (AP)
The first image of Fraser in ‘The Whale’ (AP)

The playwright said that the film and play was intended as a “call for empathy” and was meant to right previous narratives about obesity seen on screen.

The film’s official synopsis reads: “A reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.”

Fraser previously described the film as being “like something you haven’t seen before”.

The Whale will see Fraser tackle his first leading role in nearly a decade, following 2013’s straight-to-DVD thriller Breakout.

The Whale premieres in US cinemas on 9 December. It does not yet have a UK release date.