Brendan Fraser Moved to Tears by Standing Ovation for Comeback Movie ‘The Whale’

Brendan Fraser became emotional as he was recognized by the Venice International Film Festival crowd for his performance in director Darren Aronofsky’s latest movie

Photo: Stefania D’Alessandro/WireImage

Brendan Fraser is showing his emotional side.

The 53-year-old actor appeared visibly moved at the world premiere of his comeback movie The Whale Sunday, after it received a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice International Film Festival.

At one point Fraser raised his hands in the air and then placed them on his knees, according to a video of the standing ovation shared on social media.

He also hugged director Darren Aronofsky “several times during the ovation” and was met with louder applause as he attempted to leave the theater, reported Variety.

This then prompted him to remain in place a while longer added the outlet.

Ahead of the film’s premiere Sunday, Fraser detailed the “undulating feeling” of starring as Charlie in the movie — for which he underwent a huge physical transformation to play the 600 lbs. man.

Darren Aronofsky and Brendan Fraser attend "The Whale" red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 04, 2022 in Venice, Italy.
Alessandra Benedetti – Corbis/Corbis via Getty

“I think it’s poetic that the trauma he carries is manifest in the physical weight of his body,” he said ahead of the film’s premiere, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I needed to learn to absolutely move in a new way. I developed muscles I did not know that I had. I even felt a sense of vertigo, when at the end of the day all the appliances were removed, just as you would feel stepping off the boat onto the dock here in Venice — that undulating feeling.”

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“And I say this because he gave me an appreciation for those whose bodies are similar because I learned that you need to be an incredibly strong person physically and mentally to inhabit that physical being. And I think that is Charlie, also,” Fraser added.

On Wednesday, Fraser told Vanity Fair he took on the project after seeking a role that would help him learn “what I was capable of.”

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“If there’s no risk, then why bother?” he said. “I want to learn from the people I’m working with at this point in my career. I’ve had such variety, a lot of high highs and low lows, so what I’m keen for, in the second half of my time doing this, is to feel like I’m contributing to the craft, and I’m learning from it.

“This is a prime opportunity. I wanted to disappear into it. My hope was that I would become unrecognizable,” Fraser added.

Aronofsky, 53, told Vanity Fair that Fraser carried between 50 and 300 extra pounds during filming, depending on the contents of each scene. The movie takes place entirely within his character’s home over the course of five days, according to the outlet.

Brendan Fraser attends "The Whale" red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 04, 2022 in Venice, Italy.
Ernesto Ruscio/Getty

In July, A24 released the first photo of Fraser as Charlie, a reclusive writing instructor who struggles to reconnect with his teenage daughter, played by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink.

The Whale marks Fraser’s first leading role since 2013’s Breakout, according to Variety. He had a role in last year’s No Sudden Move, plus recent TV stints on shows like Doom Patrol, The Affair and Trust. Fraser was expected to play the villain in the HBO Max Batgirl movie before it was reported in August that the film was shelved indefinitely.

Samuel D. Hunter wrote the screenplay based on his play of the same name. The 2012 production debuted off-Broadway to acclaim from The New York Times, and it won a Drama Desk Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding play and a GLAAD Media Award.

“Adapting my play into a screenplay has been a real labor of love for me,” Hunter told Deadline last year. “This story is deeply personal, and I’m very thankful it will have the chance to reach a wider audience.”

The Whale premieres Dec. 9 in theaters.

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