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05th Sep 2022

Brendan Fraser breaks down in tears as The Whale gets six-minute standing ovation in Venice

Steve Hopkins

The Whale marks Fraser return to the big screen

Brendan Fraser was overcome with emotion after the world premiere of his new movie, The Whale, received a standing ovation on Sunday night.

When the credits rolled at the Venice Film Festival on the Darren Aronofsky drama, in which Fraser plays a 600-pound gay man confined to a wheelchair, the actor broke down, Variety reported.

Fraser reportedly sobbed throughout the six-minute standing ovation. The publication suggested the movie will likely put the Fraser at the forefront of this year’s best actor Oscars race.

Many others inside the theatre also became emotional during the film’s heartbreaking final scenes.

Fraser hugged Aronofsky several times during the ovation and also tried to leave the theatre at one point, but the outpouring of clapping was so loud, he stayed longer and took a bow.

In The Whale, Fraser stars as a man living with severe obesity who struggles to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter, played by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink.

The movie is based on the play of the same name by Samuel D Hunter, who adapted the stage script into Aronofsky’s feature.

To play the lead character, Fraser wore a prosthetic suit that added anywhere from 50 to 300 pounds given the scene, spending up to six hours a day in the makeup chair to transform each day.

In an interview ahead of the film’s Venice premiere, Fraser shared that his prosthetic suit was “cumbersome, not exactly comfortable,” Variety reported.

He added: “The torso piece was almost like a strait jacket with sleeves that went on, airbrushed by hand, to look identical as would human skin, right down to the hand-punched hair.”

“I developed muscles I did not know I had,” Fraser told journalists at the Venice press conference about wearing the prosthetic suit.

“I even felt a sense of vertigo at the end of the day when all the appliances were removed; it was like stepping off the dock onto a boat in Venice. That [sense of] undulating. It gave me appreciation for those whose bodies are similar. You need to be an incredibly strong person, mentally and physically, to inhabit that physical being.”

In his review of “The Whale” out of Venice, Variety film critic Owen Gleiberman called Fraser “slyer, subtler, more haunting than he has ever been,” adding that he gives an “intensely lived-in and touching performance.”

Aronofsky has had a number of hits at Venice, including The Wrestler and Black Swan. 

Fraser became a household name in the 90s with hits like George of the Jungle and The Mummy franchise, but  relinquished his leading man status in the 2010s.

The Whale marks a huge comeback for Fraser, who hasn’t had a starring role in  a film since 2013’s Breakout.

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