The Whale star Brendan Fraser says that he’ll never call the costume he wore a fat suit, explaining that said suits have cut corners on authenticity.
Brendan Fraser refuses to refer to the costume he used for The Whale as a fat suit. A fat suit is a bodysuit used to thicken the appearance of an actor, and it’s often used for comedic effect. The Whale doesn’t use the suit with humorous intent but it was considered crucial to portraying Charlie accurately. Starring Fraser, Stranger Things’s Sadie Sink, Ty Simpkins, and Hong Chau, The Whale follows Charlie, a 600-pound English teacher who wishes to reconnect with his daughter (Sink). The costume Fraser wore was seamless and really sold the illusion director Darren Aronofsky and co. were going for.
In a video interview with Deadline, The Whale star Brendan Fraser says that he’ll never call the costume he wore a fat suit. Fraser stresses that the prosthetic suit had to be cumbersome, it had to obey the laws of physics and gravity, in order to fully put Fraser in the shoes of a 600-pound man with mobility issues. When reminded that the costume is commonly branded as a fat suit, Fraser said, “You’ll never hear me say that.” Read what Fraser had to say about the costume in full below:
Fraser: It was cumbersome, with good reason. Because putting an actor in a costume, an apparatus, to emulate weight gain for the character has, in years past, cut the corner on authenticity. It’s normally the silhouette of a costume that’s worn by a fairly athletic actor and it’s in service of a cheap joke or to vilify a character—
Interviewer: They call it a fat suit, or something like that—
Fraser: You’ll never hear me say that.
Why The Whale Deserves All Its Oscar Buzz
The role of Charlie has given Fraser a lot of Oscar buzz. At The Whale’s world premiere at the Venice Film Festival, a six-minute standing ovation was given and it brought Fraser to tears, starting a snowball effect of praise. And the praise is well deserved. On top of Fraser’s heartbreaking performance in The Whale, the film’s a home run on all fronts.
Aronofsky and The Whale cinematographer Matthew Libatique’s decision to go with a tight, boxy 1.33 aspect ratio really emphasized Charlie’s size, making him seem very much like the titular reference in certain shots. The literary references and the script’s attention to religion and faith set up and crescendo toward the film’s cathartic finale. Here, The Whale scribe Samuel D. Hunter was right in setting the film in basically one location, as the decision allows for more focus on dialogue and character development. The screenplay is based on Hunter’s 2012 play of the same name. And the supporting performances, especially Sink’s, are the perfect supplements to Fraser’s career-best work.
The Whale is an exhibition of talent all around, but the performance that will follow viewers out of the theater is Fraser’s. To see him open up about the role and continue to be an advocate for those living with obesity and mental health while promoting the film is endearing and overall a good look for him, as Oscar nominations are to be announced at the end of January. While the latter might not be the intention, Fraser’s performance has garnered enough buzz to make a nomination highly likely, as much as it’s well deserved. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce its final nominations on January 24, and the ceremony itself will occur on March 12. The Whale making an appearance in major categories, not just Best Actor, would be warmly welcomed.
Next: The Whale Ending Explained (In Detail)