Brendan Fraser says his latest film, “The Whale,” has an important message.
âItâs about kindness and empathy,â the actor, 53, exclusively told Page Six Tuesday night at the movieâs premiere in New York City.
âWe live in a cynical world and this film is the antidote. Itâs easy and cheap to be cynical âÂ it doesnât take much intelligence at all âÂ but to act with authenticity and dignity, thatâs where the real work is.â
Fraser added that he believes we live âin times where itâs so easy to be cruelâ to one another, which heâs experienced first-hand from movie critics and online trolls alike.
In the critically-acclaimed movie â which is already generating serious Oscar buzz â Fraser plays a reclusive and obese English teacher named Charlie who attempts to reconnect with his estranged daughter, Ellie, portrayed by âStranger Thingsâ star Sadie Sink.
The actor previously shared that he can connect with the subject of obesity because of his eldest son, Griffin, who has autism.
âHe just turned 20. Heâs a big kid, heâs 6-foot-5. Heâs got big hands and feet, a big body.Â I understand intimately what it is to be close to a person who lives with obesity,â FraserÂ told InterviewÂ magazine this week.
The role caps off a comeback of sorts for the actor, who hit it big in the 90s as a Hollywood hunk in movies like âThe Mummyâ and âGeorge of the Jungle.â
Fraser seemingly paused his career due to a number of personal events, including the death of his mother, Carol, in 2016 and the news of his divorce from ex-wife Afton Smith going public in 2007.
In 2018, Fraser also claimed he had been sexually assaulted by Philip Berk, the then-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, in 2003.
The “Bedazzled” actorÂ told GQÂ that the alleged incident led him to withdraw from the spotlight, admitting, âI became depressed. I was blaming myself and I was miserable.â
Fraser also struggled with excruciating pain, derived from stunts in action movies, which resulted in him being in and out of the hospital and undergoing numerous surgeries over the course of seven years.
Though Fraser had hardships throughout his career, his return to acting has not gone unnoticed as “The Whale” has earned rave reviews.
The film â which got a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival earlier this year, reducing the actor to tears â is based on a stage play by Samuel D. Hunter and was optioned by the director, Darren Aronofsky, 10 years ago.
Aronofsky, 53, explained that the movieâs New York premiere date had an added meaning for him while also speaking to Page Six at the event.
âWhatâs really wild is that on the way up here, Sam texted me that âThe Whaleâ was playing 10 years ago on 42nd street,â he told us. âAnd I looked it up on my calendar. I saw the play 10 years ago tonight. How insane is that?â
The premiere also proved to be a family affair as Fraser posed on the red carpet with two of his sons: Leland, 16, and Holden, 18.
Aronofskyâs 16-year-old son, Henry, whom he shares with ex-Rachel Weisz, also attended the screening along with Sink, 20.
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