How Brendan Fraser played a 270kg man in The Whale: It was 'almost like a straitjacket' – Stuff

The physical transformation actor Brendan Fraser had to make for his role as a 270kg English teacher in The Whale took a team of people six hours a day to assist with and felt like a “straitjacket”.
"I learnt quickly that it takes an incredibly strong person inside that body to be that person," The Mummy actor told Vanity Fair.
“I looked at other body suits that had been used in comedies over the years, usually for a one-note joke,” Fraser said. ​
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“Whether intended or not, the joke is, it defies gravity. This was not that.
"The torso piece was almost like a straitjacket, with sleeves that went on, airbrushed by hand, to look identical as would human skin, right down to the hand-punched hair," Fraser said.
The suit prevented the actor from moving – a team of “several” people had to help him get from the makeup room to set.
Fraser called the prosthetic suit “beautiful and arresting,” but that transforming into the character each day was a ”cumbersome, not exactly comfortable” experience.
“I developed muscles I did not know I had,” Fraser told journalists at a press conference in Venice on Sunday, ahead of the movie’s world premiere. He needed to “learn how to move in a new way,” Variety reported.
“I even felt a sense of vertigo at the end of the day when all the appliances were removed; it was like stepping off the dock onto a boat in Venice. That [sense of] undulating. It gave me appreciation for those whose bodies are similar. You need to be an incredibly strong person, mentally and physically, to inhabit that physical being.”
Fraser worked with the Obesity Action Coalition in the US to prepare for The Whale, and he also consulted with people who had undergone bariatric surgeries.
The prosthetics were created by Adrien Morot, whose previous films include Noah, The Revenant and X-Men: Days of Future Past, and used a digital sculpture and a 3D printer to make Fraser’s prosthetic suit.
Fraser plays Charlie, a reclusive English teacher with a kind soul who weighs 270kg. While the film received an eight-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival this week and already has pundits predicting Oscar nominations, Fraser is trying not to think about whether awards are in his future.
“I’m just trying to stay in today,” Fraser said in Venice this week.
The Whale is Fraser’s first leading role in years, marking a major comeback for the actor, who made his name in 90s blockbusters such as George in the Jungle and The Mummy.
The Whale is based on a 2012 play by Samuel D Hunter, who wrote the screenplay for the movie. Hunter, who was also In Venice, said he based the character on his own personal experiences with weight gain and depression earlier in his life.
It’s due to land in cinemas in December.
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