Director Darren Aronofsky Defends His Film ‘The Whale’ and Brendan Fraser From Accusations of ‘Fatphobia’

darren aronofsky the whale
Featured Video

Darren Aronofsky’s movie The Whale received critically-acclaimed reviews, and Brendan Fraser’s portrayal earned him a Golden Globe nomination. But, with most positive things, there also come negative ones. The film became the center of criticism regarding the portrayal of its main character.

Brendan Fraser The Whale
Brendan Fraser in The Whale

The recent backlash thrown at the movie revolves around the use of a fat suit on Fraser’s character instead of hiring an actual queer obese person. Aronofsky was caught off-guard by this issue since he never expected that viewers would focus on that aspect.

RELATED: Brendan Fraser’s SPECTACULAR Performance in ‘The Whale’ Propels the Film to Achieve the Biggest Limited Opening Weekend of 2022


Darren Aronofsky Responds To The Whale’s Fatphobia Criticisms

In his interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Aronofsky spoke about Fraser’s character and why they decided to use prosthetics in The Whale.

Actors have been using makeup since the beginning of acting — that’s one of their tools. And the lengths we went to portray the realism of the make-up 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.”

This is in response to the question that Mean Girls actor Daniel Franzese raised, “Why go up there and wear a fat suit to play a 400-lb. queer man? Who knows more about being an obese queer man than an obese queer man?Aronofsky insisted that he didn’t expect the movie would receive such backlash promoting fatphobia.

Brendan Fraser 2
Brendan Fraser

The director cleared things up and said that obese people are generally stereotyped as bad guys or punchlines, the subject of viewers’ entertainment.


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 movie follows a very tragic plot. Charlie is a 600-pound English teacher who struggles with his obesity disorder while trying to patch things up with his estranged daughter. It was revealed that his self-destructive habit started after the death of his lover. Since then, he isolated himself from the world, his ex-wife, and their teenage daughter. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick is the inspiration behind the title, which is also mentioned in the movie.

RELATED: “I didn’t know who he was”: Stranger Things Star Sadie Sink Reveals She Didn’t Know Brendan Fraser Before The Whale

Brendan Fraser Defends His Character Charlie

Brendan Fraser
Brendan Fraser

Fraser emphasized that the person he is portraying is not just a one-dimensional character but has many facets that he also needed to explore.


Charlie is not the person he presents. He’s not the person who we so often dismiss. He’s a man who lives with obesity, but he’s also a father and he’s also a teacher. He’s someone who can bring out the best in others even when they can’t see that in themselves. Tragically, he can’t do that for himself.”

The actor also shared that the empathy he felt towards the character while shooting the movie left an intense impact on him, and viewers must see it through the film’s perspective and not as a narrative against obese people.

The Whale is currently playing in select theaters.

Source: Yahoo! Entertainment


RELATED: Brendan Fraser’s Career Almost Ended In 1999 After He Got Choked On The Set Of The Mummy


Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 2117

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.