Darren Aronofsky addresses The Whale weight problems backlash
Darren Aronofksy’s The Whale (and extra particularly its lead actor Brendan Fraser) has been an early favourite in awards season conversations forward of its December 9 premiere. Nevertheless, it has additionally sparked heavy criticism for its depiction of weight problems, with some who’ve already seen the movie taking challenge with the primary character’s pitiable portrayal.
Aronofsky defends the character and the story in a brand new Selection profile, saying, “There are individuals on the market who’re going to instantly shut down once they see a personality like Charlie. I would like individuals to hook up with the movie—I hope they do. However generally you simply do what that you must do artistically and see what occurs.”
Even past the content material of the movie, fats fits generally are being re-examined in Hollywood. Fraser wore elaborate prosthetics to painting the 600-pound character, fairly than casting somebody of an analogous physique sort. “There was a chapter within the making of this movie the place we tried to analysis overweight actors,” Aronofsky tells Selection. “Outdoors of not having the ability to discover an actor who might pull off the feelings of the function, it simply turns into a loopy chase. Like, should you can’t discover a 600-pound actor, is a 300-pound actor or 400-pound actor sufficient?”
Making some extent that won’t soften critics’ views of the state of affairs, the controversial filmmaker provides that somebody nearer to Charlie’s precise dimension could not have been capable of carry out on the degree required of the function. “From a well being perspective, it’s prohibitive. It’s an unimaginable function to fill with an actual particular person coping with these points,” he argues.
In Fraser’s view, “I’m not a small man. And I don’t know what the metric is to qualify to play the function. I solely know that I needed to give as sincere a efficiency as I can,” the actor tells Newsweek. The Selection piece notes that he “did exhaustive analysis, consulting with the Weight problems Motion Coalition, an advocacy group, and speaking with quite a few individuals who had been battling consuming points.”
“They let me know what their diet was and how obesity had affected their lives in terms of their relationships with loved ones. It was heartbreaking, because very often these people were mocked and made to feel awful about themselves,” says Fraser, who criticizes previous Hollywood depictions of obesity as “one-note” and filled with “crude jokes.” “Vindictive speech is painful. And it does damage because it feeds into the cycle of overeating. I just left those conversations thinking, ‘Hey, this is not your fault. This is an illness. This is an addiction.’”
There is also the argument that the story sprung from the personal experience of Samuel D. Hunter, who wrote the screenplay as well as the play the film is based on. “To be clear, this is not a story about everybody who grapples with obesity. It’s how it presented in me,” says Hunter, who, as Variety notes, grew up “gay in the Midwest and the solace he sought in overeating.”
He continues, “My depression manifested physically as I self-medicated with food. Fortunately, I had support in my life. I had parents who loved me, and I was able to deal with some of my demons and go to therapy and become a healthier person. But The Whale is about a person who didn’t have that support system.”
While none of this completely absolves The Whale of criticism (and indeed, Aronofsky’s remarks may fuel further scrutiny), it does provide valuable context for a film that has thus far only been seen on the pageant circuit. Audiences can resolve for themselves how they really feel in regards to the topic when the movie premieres in December.
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