After a long absence caused mainly by depression, Brendan Fraser returned to Hollywood thanks to The Whale, playing an obese English teacher who self-isolates at home and tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter.
Throughout his career, the actor has had many ups and downs, both in his career and in his personal life.
However in the summer of 2022, Brendan Fraser triumphantly returned to the spotlight and public attention with the film The Whale.
It premiered at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, and the audience reaction was swift, receiving cheers for minutes on end.
A video posted to Twitter by Ramin Setoodeh, Variety’s co-editor-in-chief, shows Fraser looking quite clearly overcome with emotion at the audience reaction. He always being one to show his emotions fully and cried throughout the applause, according to Variety.
Now, he’s one of the leading favorites to win an Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Playtech.ro caught up with the renowned actor through our correspondent/collaborator Loredana Salanță, where Brendan Fraser opens up about his life-changing experience.
Brendan Freiser, a comeback you only see in the movies!
Reporter: What was the biggest challenge in agreeing to star in the film “The Whale”?
Brendan Fraser: Initially, I think it was the physical metamorphosis and everything that had to do with that transformation. I had to get used to wearing prosthetics and spending hours in the make-up room. Afterwards, I had to learn to change all my mobility. It was really a new apprenticeship to learn to walk. I really have to say that I felt I had to push myself to be able to perform in The Whale.
R: What exactly did you have to do and learn?
Brendan Fraser: I had to learn to move my body differently. I had to work on body parts I didn’t even know! I didn’t think I would be so physically tired playing this character. At the end of certain days of filming, I would feel dizzy and sometimes sick. This transformation was exhausting, but unique.
R: To what extent has this role marked you?
Brendan Fraser: Through this role, I realised how much people can suffer who are in the same physical condition as the character I played. It’s terrible to find yourself trapped in your own body. Every move is an incredible show of courage and everyday life really becomes a constant struggle.
R: How do you manage this Hollywood system, where you’re in high demand one day and the next day you’re not wanted at all?
Brendan Fraser: I don’t ask myself that kind of question. I’m just trying to stay in the game today (smiles).
I’m just trying to enjoy the good times I’m having right now. This film has had an incredible impact on my life, and I hope that audiences will experience that deep emotion by discovering The Whale.
R: Do you think this feature film gave you a Hollywood comeback?
Brendan Fraser: I don’t know if yours works, but my crystal ball is broken (laughs). We’ll see you after this movie is released worldwide and we can take a look at the situation together. What I can tell you is that The Whale was one of the experiences of a lifetime for me.
It was also an incredible opportunity to put myself in another man’s shoes and tell his personal story. And on top of that, I don’t know an actor who wouldn’t want to work with Darren. So I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to be in this film.
“I was able to do the biggest challenge I wanted to do.”
R: Do you get nostalgic when you think back to your time as George of the Jungle?
Brendan Fraser: You can’t imagine how many parents have come to me to complain about their kids thinking they’re my character and getting a lot of injuries. Compared to that period, I looked physically different. (smiles)
R: Having encountered “a difficult crossing of the desert” (symbolic of a period of wandering that precedes triumph in a man’s life) what state of mind are you in today?
Brendan Fraser: Now I’m in a whole new phase. My journey so far has been about exploring as many characters as possible. Thanks to this film, I’ve been able to achieve the biggest challenge I wanted to. And thanks to my role, I discovered more about life, about the taste for heroism. It’s amazing how much a film like this can teach you about humanity and empathy.
What chance does Brendan Fraser have in the Oscar race?
As we can see, this year we’re in for a real fight in the Best Actor in a Leading Role race.
It looks like the close battle is between two actors with very different stories, Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser. There’s no doubt that Golden Globe and BAFTA winner Butler has a lot of advantages on his side that could bring him victory for playing the famous rock and roll singer Elvis Presley, while Fraser’s own comeback could be made into a real movie. Everyone loves to root for a career comeback, and Fraser symbolizes the nostalgic winner-take-all feeling that so many people can relate to.