'The Whale' is an adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play about a reclusive teacher who weighs 600 pounds.
Trigger Warning: This article contains details of sexual assault that some readers may find distressing
Brendan Fraser's comeback has been the journey of a lifetime for the actor. The 54-year-old transformed into a 600-pound man for Darren Aronofsky’s film, The Whale. According to Variety, the character was his first leading role since 2013's Breakout. Fans have previously seen the actor in the F/X limited series Trust and the HBO Max series Doom Patrol as well as in a supporting role in Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Movie. But it's his role in the adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play about a fat, reclusive teacher who weighs 600 pounds and attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter that got noticed by critics and fans.
Brendan Fraser was named Best Actor at the 2023 Oscars beating out Austin Butler (Elvis), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Paul Mescal (Aftersun) and Bill Nighy (Living). The ’90s heartthrob got emotional during his speech thanking his cast, crew and family. “I’m grateful to Darren Aronofsky for throwing me a creative lifeline and hauling me aboard the good ship The Whale,” Fraser said, according to PEOPLE. “That was written by Samuel D. Hunter who is our lighthouse." Speaking to his fellow nominees, he added, "you laid your whale-sized hearts bare so that we could see into your souls like no one else could do. It is my honor to be named alongside you in this category. I want to tell you that only whales can swim at the depth of talent of Hong Chau [fellow nominee].”
"I started in this business 30 years ago, and things, they didn't come easily to me, but there was a facility that I didn't appreciate at the time until it stopped. And I just want to say thank you for this acknowledgment. Because it couldn't be done without my cast," he said. "It’s been like I’ve been on a diving expedition and the air on the line to the surface is being watched over by some people in my life like my sons. Holden and Leland and Griffin — I love you Griffey, my manager JoAnne Colonna, [my publicist] Jennifer Plante and my best first mate Jeanne [Moore]." Fraser concluded, "Thank you again, each one and all. I'm so grateful to you. Goodnight."
The George of the Jungle actor was out of the limelight for a while after accusing Philip Berk, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, of sexual assault. "I felt ill. I felt like a little kid," he told GQ. "I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry." The actor was deeply affected by the incident and revealed he "became depressed.” and even blamed himself "and I was miserable—because I was saying, ‘This is nothing; this guy reached around and he copped a feel.’ That summer wore on—and I can't remember what I went on to work on next.” He added that the experience “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.” Berk responded by saying, “Mr. Fraser's version is a total fabrication.” Since Fraser's return to the screen, the Internet has been showing nothing but love for the actor's comeback even dubbing his return as the "brenaissance."
If you are being subjected to sexual assault, or know of anyone who is, please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673)