The Whale: Cast, Plot, Release Date, and Everything We Know So Far – Collider

The Brendan Fraser comeback train keeps on rolling.
Darren Aronofsky is a fantastic director without question, but that doesn't necessarily mean his repertoire of films are the most approachable movies in cinemas today. Having made films like Pi (1998), Requiem for a Dream (2000), The Fountain (2006), The Wrestler (2008), Black Swan (2010), and Noah (2014), Aronofsky is often the subject of rave reviews, but the brilliance that the film community praises him for is often overlooked by more casual audiences. Sometimes his films become the subject of debate amongst his most die-hard fans, such was the case with his most recent film Mother! (2017), which had a much more polarizing response with one side of viewers calling it masterful while the other side called it pretentious.
Regardless, most lovers of film who are familiar with Aronofsky's work would agree that the filmmaker has an incredible cinematic mind and is consistently committed to telling stories that he feels need to be told. Whether it be the epic biblical scale of Noah or the quieter but still chaotic enclosed environment of Mother!, his filmography is surprisingly diverse, and he's worked with a wide variety of budget types. However, Aronofsky's next project could very well be the smallest scale project he's worked on yet, but it looks to still include the existential themes of a human's place in the universe that he's become so well known for.
That movie is The Whale, the story of a six-hundred-pound man based on the stage play of the same name and starring Brendan Fraser in the lead role, making this another major get for the actor after his long hiatus in addition to his role in the upcoming Martin Scorsese pic, Killers of the Flower Moon (2023). The Whale will mark the first time that Aronofsky has worked with the universally acclaimed A24, the production company that has made a name for itself as the undisputed face of independent filmmaking in recent years. With existing source material, an Academy Award-nominated director, a beloved lead actor, and a studio with an impressive catalog of past success stories, The Whale sounds like it should be a surefire hit. Yet, despite being set to release later this year, details about the project have been shrouded in secrecy.
That doesn't mean that details about the anticipated project are impossible to find, so read below to find out everything we know so far about The Whale.
Editor's Note: This piece was updated on November 9, to include the latest trailer
Related:'The Whale' First Look Shows Brendan Fraser's Transformation to a 600-Pound Man
The teaser trailer for The Whale was released a mere month prior to the film’s release. The late drop release is potentially due to the incredible social media buzz and early critical reception the film has received, making it a real contender for a sleeper “word of mouth” hit. The teaser really doesn’t give much away in its roughly one-minute run time, mainly deciding to focus on the praise the film has received from critics thus far and the lead stars of Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, and Hong Chau.
The Whale has recently been officially slated for a wider release on Friday, December 9, 2022, just in time to be eligible for what is sure to be a competitive awards season. The Whale also has its festival run start just around the corner, with an official premiere at the Venice Film Festival on September 4. Ahead of the release, the movie was also screened at the Austin Film Festival. Along with making the festival circuit, early buzz surrounding the film has already earned Brendan Fraser the TIFF Tribute Award, making this a very good sign for The Whale's award show prospects.
When The Whale premiered at the Venice Film Festival, the film received an enthusiastic six-minute standing ovation that reportedly moved Brendan Fraser to tears. The movie has received acclaim, especially for Fraser's performance, from a whole lot of people including critics and even fellow actors like Dwayne Johnson.
Yes, The Whale is based on the off-Broadway play of the same name written by Samuel D. Hunter, who also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation. Though the show may not have made it to the big illuminated signs of Broadway, it still became the subject of rave reviews and several prestigious awards. The Chicago Tribune for example called the Lucille Lortel Award-winning play "a remarkably eloquent exploration of the way the need for honesty overwhelms us when we sense that our time is short".
Hunter being so directly involved in the writing process is a pretty good sign that this will be faithful to the original story that captured the hearts and minds of so many within the theater world.
Related:6 Extraordinary Acting Performances Already Earning 2023 Oscar Buzz
Charlie is a morbidly obese English teacher based in the state of Idaho. At about six hundred pounds, Charlie's obesity has made his range of movement limited, and he shares his passion for literature (particularly within his favorite novel, Moby Dick) entirely virtually from his own couch. In addition to his morbid obesity, Charlie is also depressed to the point where he is suicidal, as he is essentially trying to eat himself to death. The only thing that is really stopping Charlie from achieving this goal sooner is another want to reconnect with his teenage daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink).
Charlie seems to have come to terms with the fact that he doesn't have much time left on this Earth, regardless of if he's trying to expedite the process by overeating. However, with the help of Ellie, Charlie's nurse and closest friend Liz (Hong Chau), and a Mormon missionary named Thomas, perhaps Charlie may get a chance to find a source of meaning and happiness that he's been missing for so many years.
We've already mentioned some of the big creative names involved with the project, starting with Darren Aronofsky directing and original play creator Samuel D. Hunter returning to script the adaptation. The rest of the crew consists of quite the a-team as well. They include Rob Simonsen (Foxcatcher) as the composer, Matthew Libatique (Black Swan) as cinematographer, Andrew Weisblum (The French Dispatch) as editor, Mark Friedberg (Joker) and Robert Pyzocha (Black Flies) as production designers, and Jurasama Arunchai (West Side Story) as art director.
Though he's probably best known for his work on The Mummy trilogy, Brendan Fraser has a pretty diverse resume of roles in various genres, ranging from full-blown comedies like Bedazzled (2000) to existential super-hero dramas like Doom Patrol (2019-2021). The Whale easily could prove to be Fraser's most ambitious and challenging role yet, as this is an extremely deep character study that lives or dies on the emotional performance of Charlie.
The supporting cast joining Fraser includes Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) as Charlie's daughter Ellie, Hong Chau (Downsizing) as Charlie's nurse and companion Liz, Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3) as Mormon missionary Thomas, and Samantha Morton (Synecdoche, New York) as Charlie's ex-wife Mary.
Aidan Kelley is a senior resource writer for Collider, as well as an independent filmmaker and lover of all things cinema.


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