Darren Aronofsky will direct Brendan Fraser in “The Whale,” an adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play about a morbidly obese recluse.
A24 has global rights to the film. “The Whale” was critically acclaimed when it debuted Off-Broadway in 2012, winning both the Drama Desk Award and the Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding play.
It’s the story of a 600-pound middle-aged man named Charlie and his attempts to reconnect with his 17-year-old daughter. The two became estranged after Charlie abandoned his family for his gay lover, who later died. Charlie then turned to compulsive eating out of grief.
Aronofsky’s Protozoa Pictures will also produce the film. The director scored raves and a strong following with the likes of “Requiem for a Dream” and “Black Swan.” However, his most recent effort, “Mother!,” was divisive and a commercial bomb when it premiered in 2017, grossing $44.5 million on a $30 million budget and suffering some withering reviews along with several raves.
Fraser recently appeared on FX’s “Trust,” earning some positive notices. But it’s been awhile since he was on Hollywood’s A-list as the star of “George of the Jungle” and “The Mummy” franchise. Perhaps he’s just a showy role away from reminding audiences and Hollywood what they initially embraced, and Charlie sounds like it could mark a career comeback if he pulls off the transformation. Aronofsky managed to do something similar with Mickey Rourke, another formerly hot talent whose career was running on fumes before he hit with 2008’s “The Wrestler.”
Aronofsky is repped by CAA and Fraser is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment. Deadline broke the news about Aronofsky and Fraser’s new project.
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