Don’t call it a comeback, because Brendan Fraser never actually considered himself gone. “I’m hearing a lot about this being a comeback for me, but I was never that far away,” he told Adam Sandler, in the first released interview from Variety’s highly anticipated, much-memed Actors On Actors series.
“I’ve always kept working, busy doing something. I would lose my mind if I wasn’t working. There’s so much content in the world, a lot of that can slip off the radar,” he continued.
The “comeback” role in question is of course the lead in Darren Aronofsky’s upcoming The Whale, a film which even before widespread release has received a massive amount of feedback, equal parts negative (Fraser plays a 600-pound man, which has been controversial, to say the least) and positive (people, including Variety interview partner Adam Sandler, really, really love Brendan Fraser. The movie “made me cry a lot, because you’re my buddy,” Sandler told him.)
Fraser addressed the controversy surrounding the weight of his character Charlie, who in the movie has only five days to live and “needs to redeem himself in the very little amount of time he has left.” The actor famously wears prosthetics for the film (which he says “contained combinations of those little airsoft pellets, maybe dried beans, marbles”), but he still draws a distinction between this depiction of obesity, which “obey[s] the laws of physics and gravity, because we don’t see that in films” and fat-suits of old, which were “all in the service of a mean joke.”
He continued: “It’s important to say this, because there are those who live with this disease. I felt empowered to be their voice and to be as honest as I could and as authentic as I could in the portrayal. Look, my weight has been all over the map. I put on weight to play this role, and it wasn’t enough—so the body had to go on top of that, and the two worked together.”
Fraser and Sandler also discuss how they met on the set of the movie Airheads in 1994, Fraser’s earlier body transformation for George Of The Jungle, working with Aronofsky, and shooting under the “existential threat” of COVID. You can read the full text of the interview here.
The Whale premieres in theaters on December 9.