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Brendan Fraser opens up on son's 'special needs' who 'lives alongside him with obesity everyday'

Tom Wood

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Brendan Fraser opens up on son's 'special needs' who 'lives alongside him with obesity everyday'

Brendan Fraser has opened up on his son’s ‘special needs’ and spoken about what it’s to be ‘close to a person who lives with obesity’. Here's the trailer for his new film The Whale - you should check it out, because it's being talked up as one of the films of the year.

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Speaking in a conversational interview with Freddie Prinze Jr. Fraser discussed his role in The Whale, in which he plays a massively overweight man.

That new film – directed by Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky – sees Fraser take on the role of a 600lb man who is attempting to reforge a relationship with his teenage daughter.

During that time, the star of The Mummy series had to wear a huge suit that weighed as much as 300lbs and spent four hours every day in make-up having the suit and prosthetics fitted.

He’s described the role as the ‘hardest thing [he’s] ever done’ because of the ‘physical rigours of playing the role’.

During the conversation, written up for Interview Magazine, Fraser said: “ You can light me on fire, push me off camels, beat me up, throw me down, and I’ll get up, patch it up, and try it again until it doesn’t work anymore.

“But it felt like the hardest thing I’d ever done was playing Charlie in The Whale.”

Brendan Fraser plays a 600lb man in The Whale. Credit: UPI/Alamy
Brendan Fraser plays a 600lb man in The Whale. Credit: UPI/Alamy

Then, he went on to talk about his own son Griffin, one of his three children who is obese and has autism.

Fraser explained: “I have three kids of my own. My oldest son Griffin has special needs. He’s autistic.

“He just turned 20. He’s a big kid. He’s six foot five. He’s got big hands and feet, a big body. I understand intimately what it is to be close to a person who lives with obesity.

“And because of the beauty of his spectrum—call it a disorder if you will, I disagree with you—he knows nothing of irony.

“He doesn’t know what cynicism is. You can’t insult him. He can’t insult you.

“He’s the happiest person and is, in my life and many others’, also the manifestation of love.

“Being with my kids and their mom and our family has given me such love that if ever I needed to hold something of value up to try and translate that to what was important to Charlie, I didn’t have to look far.”

He went on to talk about the depth of research he went into in order to come to terms with the role in The Whale, explaining: “I think about this guy [his character] all the time.

“I interviewed people on Zoom calls in researching for this, connections made possible by Dr. Goldman at the Obesity Action Coalition.

“It’s a support and resource group that has a huge following and membership online. It’s essentially a place where families and people who live with people who are obese, or are obese, can go to when they need health services, referrals, everything. It’s a wonderful organisation."

Fraser had to go through some intense stuff to prepare for the role. Credit: A24
Fraser had to go through some intense stuff to prepare for the role. Credit: A24

“The people I talked to gave me something so honest that I really questioned if I was qualified to have this information.

“Something I learned, as heartbreaking as it is, is that each person who told me their story had one thing in common: There was someone in their youth who was very cruel to them by the way they spoke to them, and it set in motion the rest of their life.

“Sadly, it most often was a father, I noticed. So when I learned that, I was like, ‘Well, I’ve got to try and do something to break that cycle.’

“And if this is what I can contribute, that’s good enough for me.”

The Whale is scheduled for release in the USA this December, and Fraser is already being talked up for some of the major awards this year.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock/A24

Topics: Brendan Fraser, Celebrity, TV and Film

Tom Wood
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