If Sunday night’s “The Whale” global premiere at the Venice Film Festival is any indication, Brendan Fraser’s return to Hollywood will be met with a lot of cheers and a lot more tears. The actor was struck with emotion as the Darren Aronofsky drama’s titles rolled; Fraser played a 600-pound gay guy who was wheelchair-bound in the film.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Nick Kroll, and Huma Abedin, a supporter of Hillary Clinton who was seated a few rows behind Fraser and wept just as much as he did, were among those seen inside the Sala Grande Theatre. Several other spectators in the theatre also sobbed aloud during the film’s tragic conclusion.
Throughout the standing ovation, Fraser again hugged Aronofsky. He made an attempt to leave the theatre at one point, but the resounding applause persuaded him to stay and give a bow instead..
In “The Whale,” performed by rising talent Sadie Sink from “Stranger Things,” Fraser portrays a guy who is severely obese and battles to maintain a relationship with his 17-year-old daughter. Ty Simpkins, Samantha Morton, and Hong Chau are also featured in the supporting cast. Samuel D. Hunter’s play of the same name served as the inspiration for the film, which director Darren Aronofsky turned into a feature.
Fraser wore a prosthetic outfit to play the main character in the movie, which added between 50 and 300 pounds depending on the moment. The actor spent up to six hours every day in the makeup chair to fully inhabit the part. Fraser described his prosthetic garment as “cumbersome, not exactly comfy” in an interview conducted before the movie’s Venice debut.