Brendan Fraser, star of The Mummy franchise and the subject of countless idle fantasies, has lined up his next major film role in a hot minute: a team-up with director Darren Aronofsky for an adaptation of acclaimed play The Whale.
Deadline reports Fraser has linked with the Black Swan mastermind for the production at A24, the studio responsible for recent bangers like Moonlight and Hereditary. That’s huge news for anyone who, like me, believes there’s a Fraser-shaped hole in modern cinema.
We’ll get to his seeming absence in a moment. First, let’s get into The Whale, a play from Samuel D. Hunter which follows the life of Charlie, a “a six hundred pound recluse [who] hides away in his apartment eating himself to death.”
Brendan Fraser is slated to play the leading role, a middle-aged English tutor “desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter” after a family breakdown and the death of his same-sex partner.
The play copped extremely good reviews upon its debut, with The Village Voice praising Hunter for his “sharp-eared skill and sensitivity”. The Whale also wound up with a stack of Off-Broadway awards, and a GLAAD Media Award.
Fortunately for anyone who wasn’t in New York during its initial run, Hunter himself will work to adapt The Whale for the big screen.
“This story is deeply personal and I’m very thankful it will have the chance to reach a wider audience,” he said in a statement.
“I’ve been a fan of Darren’s ever since I saw Requiem for a Dream when I was a college freshman writing my first plays, and I’m so grateful that he’s bringing his singular talent and vision to this film.”
As for Fraser: Back in early 2018, the actor alleged to GQ that he was sexually harassed by Phillip Berk, a former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), fifteen years prior.
The profile pointed to the accusation as a major factor in Fraser’s decision to step back from superstardom. The actor himself said he felt compelled to “retreat”, adding, “It made me feel reclusive.”
Berk strongly denied Fraser’s recollection of events, calling it a “total fabrication.” In July 2018, Fraser said an internal HFPA investigation dismissed his accusation of sexual harassment.
Info is scarce on when The Whale will kick off filming, but considering the immense creative pedigree behind it, you can expect to hear more about this one in the months to come.
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