If the Venice Film Festival crowd’s reception to The Whale was any indication, Brendan Fraser’s long-deserved career comeback has advanced to the next (Oscar-buzzing) level. As Variety reports, the drama received a huge, six-minute standing ovation at the event, prompting Fraser to break down in tears.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky and adapted from the play by Samuel D. Hunter, The Whale follows Fraser’s Charlie, a gay man who leaves his family to be with another man. When his partner dies, Charlie is driven to compulsive eating and eventually reaches 600 pounds. The film centers on Charlie’s attempt to reconnect with estranged daughter, played by Sadie Sink.
Clearly, The Whale is intense, and it’s proven to be the perfect vehicle for Fraser’s return to Hollywood. After starring in blockbusters like George of the Jungle and The Mummy in the late ’90s, the actor’s career diminished in the 2000s as he took smaller roles in television and straight-to-video movies. In 2018, Fraser revealed his belief that his career was damaged after he was groped by former Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Philip Berk at a luncheon. Even if he wasn’t blacklisted, he said, the experience “made me retreat. It made me feel reclusive.” Now, The Whale marks Fraser’s first starring role in a film since the 2013 direct-to-DVD action movie Breakout.
Watch Fraser get his flowers for The Whale below. The film, produced by A24, hits theaters December 9th.