Why Brendan Fraser Waited To Take Dramatic Roles Like The Whale

Academy Award-nominated actor Brendan Fraser explains why he waited a long time before accepting dramatic roles like Charlie in A24’s The Whale.

The Whale star Brendan Fraser explained why he waited long before taking dramatic roles. Playing Charlie, a 600lb, reclusive English professor who reunites with his daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) with only days to live, Fraser received numerous accolades for his performance, including a Critics Choice Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards win and his first Academy Award nomination. While the film divided critics upon its release, Fraser’s performance received almost universal acclaim, with the actor experiencing a massive career resurgence.


In an interview with Deadline, Fraser explained why he recently took up dramatic performances and films, having mostly starred in action movies, such as 1999’s The Mummy, and comedies. He pinpointed the hesitance to lacking life experience and understanding necessary to perform a character like The Whale‘s Charlie. Check out what he said on the matter below:

“I didn’t have the life experience or the heartache. I hadn’t been a father long enough 10 years ago to appreciate what it means to have a young person in your life.”

Related: The Whale Ending Explained (In Detail)

Why Brendan Fraser’s Performance As Charlie Was Oscar-Worthy

Charlie crying as he looks at his friend in The Whale

The Whale‘s critical response was initially met with considerable praise when it premiered at the Venice International Film Festival, where it received a six-minute standing ovation. However, the response became more polarizing as more critics saw the movie during the festival circuit and when it was eventually released in theaters. Still, Fraser’s performance of Charlie was its best part, anchoring an emotional core to the character that the movie wouldn’t have if it were played by another actor.

Fraser imbues a lot of personal empathy and compassion in his portrayal of Charlie. As Fraser has three children, it likely took many years of personal life experience to play a complex and richly-written character like Charlie. Without that personal baggage and connection, Fraser’s dramatic performance in The Whale wouldn’t have been the same. Fraser understands Charlie’s love for his daughter because his love for his children is deeply engrained in himself.

That is likely why audiences felt Charlie’s love for Ellie and emphasized the character, even if Ellie didn’t love him back and kept giving his father a hard time. That personal connection made Fraser’s performance lauded, and not necessarily because the actor was experiencing a career resurgence. It’s also the likely cause that led him to get nominated for his first Oscar, which he could likely win after recent award triumphs, although the competition sounds fierce between him and Elvis star Austin Butler. Nevertheless, Fraser’s eventual experience and comfort helped him to exude Charlie’s emotionality in The Whale, making his long wait in dramatic roles worth it.

More: Is The Whale Based On A True Story?

Source: Deadline

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