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The Whale director responds to Brendan Fraser's controversial casting

The Whale director responds to Brendan Fraser's controversial casting

Darren Aronofsky has defended the choice to cast Brendan Fraser as a 600-pound man in The Whale, despite having to wear a fat suit to do so.

Brendan Fraser has made a grand return to screens lately in the starring role of The Whale. The film, directed by Darren Aronofsky, follows the story a 600-pound middle-aged man called Charlie who’s attempting to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter after becoming a social recluse, following years of binge-eating as a result of the guilt he felt for abandoning his family to be with his lover.

The film has been highly praised by many - Fraser has now been nominated for a Global Globe award (although he won’t be attending the ceremony). However, not everyone was happy over the choice to cast him in the film.

Take a look at the trailer for The Whale below.

Back in September, Daniel Franzese (who played Damian in Mean Girls) said that he felt “conflicted” about the movie, since he felt someone else who better fit Charlie's body type and sexuality should have been chosen for the role instead. “I love Brendan Fraser, [so] I’m very conflicted,” Franzese told People. “Seeing him get up so modest in Venice and have that moment, I was very happy for him. He’s a lovely man. And it’s great. But why? Why go up there and wear a fat suit to play a 400-pound queer man?”

He continued: “I would have loved to have read for this. I mean, who knows more about being an obese queer man than an obese queer man? But I guess you can go ahead and wear a fat suit and do what you got to do and get your Oscar. We'll just sit here, waiting.”

Now, in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Aronofsky has responded to this controversy. “Actors have been using makeup since the beginning of acting - that's one of their tools,” he said. “And the lengths we went to to portray the realism of the makeup has never been done before. One of my first calls after casting Brendan was to my makeup artist, Adrien Morot. I asked him, ‘Can we do something that's realistic?’ Because if it's going to look like a joke, then we shouldn't do it.

“People with obesity are generally written as bad guys or as punchlines,” he continued. “We wanted to create a fully worked-out character who has bad parts about him and good parts about him; Charlie is very selfish, but he's also full of love and is seeking forgiveness. So [the controversy] makes no sense to me. Brendan Fraser is the right actor to play this role, and the film is an exercise in empathy.”

The Whale is out in select US cinemas now.

Featured Image Credit: A24, Neil Grabowsky via Flickr

Topics: TV And Film