Actor Brendan Fraser gets emotional after ‘The Whale,’ a film about a 600-pound gay man, gets 6 min ovation at the Venice Film Festival

“The Whale” received a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival that lasted 6 minutes, causing the film’s lead actor, Brendan Fraser, to break down in tears. A video captured from inside the festival theater showed him having trouble even standing to receive the applause as the end credits rolled.

“Fraser sobbed throughout the six-minute standing ovation, which will likely put him at the forefront of this year’s best actor Oscars race,” Variety noted.

“Brendan Fraser is back — and he sobbed during the #Venezia79 six-minute standing ovation for #TheWhale,” Variety Co-Editor-in-Chief, Ramin Setoodeh tweeted.

“Among those spotted inside the Sala Grande Theatre were Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Nick Kroll and Hillary Clinton staffer Huma Abedin, who was seated a few rows behind Fraser and shed as many tears as he did. Many others inside the theater also broke out a handkerchief during the film’s heartbreaking final scenes,” Variety reported.

“The standing ovation for #TheWhale was so enthusiastic, Brendan Fraser tried to leave the theater but the crowd’s applause made him stay,” Setoodeh added in another tweet.

The 53-year-old star of “The Mummy” had been away from leading roles for more than 10 years, having been blacklisted and having suffered from the physical effects of doing his own stunts. He has also suffered from some bad luck recently – he had a lead role as Firefly, the primary villain in the ill-fated “Batgirl” which Warner Bros. shelved.

In “The Whale,” Fraser powerfully portrays a troubled character named Charlie, a 600-pound gay man trying to reconnect with his teenage daughter who was lost to him when he left his family for a gay lover. The lover’s death causes Charlie to spiral out of control down the rabbit hole of a compulsive eating disorder that precipitates his morbid obesity.

Fraser immersed himself in the character, making a deep, sympathetic connection to Charlie’s condition and emotional scars.

The veteran actor had to wear heavy prosthetics, adding as much as 300 pounds to his body, which helped him identify with the reclusive character. He developed a deep sympathy for the morbidly obese.

“You need to be an incredibly strong person physically, mentally, to inhabit that physical being. And I think that is Charlie,” he told journalists in Venice.

The physical challenges inherent in wearing such cumbersome bulk were not entirely anticipated.

“I needed to learn to move in a new way,” said Fraser during a pre-show interview with the press. “I developed muscles that I did not know that I had. I even felt a sense of vertigo at the end of the day when all the appliances were removed, just as you would feel stepping off the boat onto the dock here in Venice.”

(Video: ET Canada)

Some Hollywood insiders predict that Fraser’s Charlie will prove to be an Oscar contender, but his focus is on how the character will be received by audiences.

“I’m looking forward to how this film makes a deep impression on everyone as much as it has on me,” he said Fraser.

Fraser was humble when asked if he was excited about the prospects of this role possibly launching another chapter for him as a lead actor.

“My crystal ball is broken,” Fraser said. “I don’t know if yours works, but meet me after the show, and we’ll take a peek together.”

Director Darren Aronofsky’s film, based on the 2012 play by Samuel D. Hunter, also features actress Sadie Sink (“Stranger Things”), in a surprising portrayal of Charlie’s 17-year-old daughter.

“The Whale” is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on December 9, 2022.

The actor was celebrated on Twitter where his former co-star Dwayne Johnson gave him a shout-out for kicking off his acting career.


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