To talk with Brendan Fraser is to love him. The man just radiates thoughtfulness and warmth. A week and change ago, I got the chance to talk to him, while the press day for The Whale was being conducted, and it quickly became apparent that this was going to be a memorable conversation. Not only has Fraser been through a lot in his life, he’s been through a lot in Hollywood. So, seeing the way that everyone is so happy to celebrate Fraser’s turn in the film, it’s truly heartening to see. It’s something I brought up during our chat, which actually at one point led him to almost begin crying. The movie is special, the performance is an all-timer, and the experience of spending some time with Fraser is just splendid. Today, you’ll get to experience that as well.
Below, you can hear my conversation with Fraser. Our discussion kicked off with me bringing up Blast From the Past, which dovetailed into the man finding an interesting common ground between that movie and The Whale. That’s how the chat continued to go. While the focus is on The Whale and his stunning performance in the Darren Aronofsky film, we go in a lot of different directions. A recurring point is empathy and kindness, which is somehow a message that is being lost in analysis of the work. As mentioned above, Fraser is just a wonderful man to talk to, so much so that it’s a shame you won’t get a chance to see him responding like I did. When he got choked up during one of my compliments, I nearly lost it as well. He gives the performance of the year here, but as amazing as that work is, he’s an even better human being.
As a reminder, I raved about Fraser in The Whale back at TIFF like so:
The Whale shattered me, of course led by the work of Brendan Fraser. It truly is the performance of a career, which Aronofsky accentuates at every turn. It’s impossible not to be blown away by the work. Now, for a film so full of empathy, it also can come off as mean to some as well. I didn’t have that issue, but it’s a movie that will generate a range of reactions. The only emotion that everyone will share? Fraser’s pitch perfect work.
Brendan Fraser deserves to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, full stop. With all that makeup and prosthetics on, it would be easy for him to be lost inside of it all, but somehow, that’s never once the cast. You feel every movement, be it a lean or a step. The purity of heart that Fraser gives to Charlie is stirring. You can’t take your eyes off of this performance. Hong Chau is phenomenal as well, and so too is Sadie Sink. Both are angry and hurt, but also frustrated with Charlie. They’re complex turns, with third act moments that will break your heart. They compel you just as much as Fraser. Samantha Morton and Ty Simpkins are solid as well, if a bit more in the background.
Here now is my interview with The Whale star Brendan Fraser. Enjoy:
The Whale is in theaters now!