Brendan Fraser Reveals That His Overweight and Autistic Son Helped Him to Connect to His Character in “The Whale”
Not only did Brendan Fraser’s role in The Whale mark his impressive comeback after years away from acting, but it was also a memorable experience for him on a personal level. The actor candidly opened up about his highly praised portrayal of the English teacher and how it made him feel, and he explained how his son, who ’’lives with obesity’’ allowed him to connect to his character on a deeper level.
He had to wear a fat suit.
In The Whale, the 54-year-old star plays the role of Charlie, a withdrawn and overweight high school teacher who tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter, with whom he has lost touch. And Brendan admitted that portraying this specific character ’’was like nothing I had ever done before."
Charlie weighs 600 lbs, which meant that Fraser had to wear a 330 lb fat suit.
Speaking of this experience, the actor noted, ’’The prosthetic costume helped enormously because it was designed to obey physics and gravity.’’ He added, ’’It was cumbersome and appropriately heavy, which made the experience of playing the part a lot closer to what it would be like to live in the body of a man that size.’’
Aside from helping him get in the mindset of his character, the suit also allowed him to gain further perspective on living with extra weight. Fraser explained, ’’When the costume came off, I could still feel the undulation, and I grew to appreciate how strong physically and emotionally a person of that size has to be.’’
His son helped him recognize the struggles of his character.
Beyond the fat suit, which helped him get into character, Fraser could relate to the part on a deeper level. In fact, the 54-year-old star is familiar with Charlie’s challenges because of his eldest son, Griffin.
Speaking of Griffin, the actor explained, ’’He just turned 20, he’s a big kid, he’s 6’5″, he’s got big hands and feet, a big body.’’ He added, ’’I understand intimately what it is to be close to a person who lives with obesity.’’ Fraser also revealed that ’’Griffin has special needs — he’s autistic.’’ The devoted father noted, ’’He’s the happiest person in my life and many others.’’
He sent his love to people who are overweight.
Thanks to his impressive portrayal of Charlie, Fraser gained further acclaim, and his triumphant comeback to Hollywood was even called a “Brenaissance.”
He went on to receive numerous awards for this role, and during his acceptance speech for Best Actor, the actor gave a heartfelt speech with teary eyes. He made sure to mention people like Charlie and said some powerful and encouraging words to them. Fraser noted, ’’If you struggle with obesity [...], I want you to know that if you can have the strength to just get to your feet and go to the light, good things will happen.’’
Have you seen The Whale yet? Which Brendan Fraser role has impressed you the most?