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Brendan Fraser returns to leading man roles to play 600lb recluse in Darren Aronofksy’s new film

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Brendan Fraser will take the lead in The Whale (Picture: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage)

Brendan Fraser is set to play a 600lb recluse in Darren Aronofsky’s new film.

The Mummy actor has been confirmed as the leading man in The Whale, based on the critically-acclaimed play of the same name by Samuel D Hunter.

As per the play synopsis, The Whale takes play ‘on the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho’, where ‘a six hundred pound recluse hides away in his apartment eating himself to death’

Charlie, Fraser’s character, became estranged from his 17-year-old daughter when he abandoned his family for his lover, who has now died.

‘Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen’, the off-Broadway play’s synopsis reads.

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Samuel D Hunter will write the screenplay based on his play, which debuted in 2012 and won a Drama Desk Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding play and a GLAAD Media Award.

Darren Aronofsky
Aronofksy’s last film was mother! (Credits: WireImage)

Hunter told Deadline: ‘Adapting my play into a screenplay has been a real labor of love for me. This story is deeply personal and I’m very thankful it will have the chance to reach a wider audience. 

‘I’ve been a fan of Darren’s ever since I saw Requiem for a Dream when I was a college freshman writing my first plays, and I’m so grateful that he’s bringing his singular talent and vision to this film.’

This will be the first film to be directed by Aronofsky, 51, since 2017’s mother! starring Jennifer Lawrence, which bombed commercially and received mixed reviews, which some rave critical responses and other reviews panning the psychological horror starring Jennifer Lawrence.

Aronofksy is best known for directing and writing the controversial award-winning 2000 film Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan, for which Natalie Portman won an Oscar, while his 2008 movie The Wrestler revitalised Mickey Rourke’s career.

Brendan Fraser’s career went into decline after box office successes like The Mummy (Picture: AP)

There are hopes the same could be done for Fraser’s career, with The Whale marking the first leading role for the 52-year-old in since the direct to DVD movie Breakout in 2013.

Fraser was one of the late 90s most prominent leading men, starring as Rick O’Connell in The Mummy franchise as well as in films like George of the Jungle and Bedazzled.

However, over the noughties he shrunk away from the spotlight, and returned to television in the late ‘10s with roles in The Affair and Danny Boyle’s drama Trust.

In a 2018 interview with GQ, Fraser alleged that he was sexually assaulted by Philip Berk, the president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, at a luncheon in the summer of 2003.

Berk denied the allegations as a ‘complete fabrication’, and claims that he pinched Fraser’s bottom in jest.

Fraser said he became depressed after the alleged incident, which was exacerbated by the death of his mother and health issues; the star underwent a partial knee replacement, a laminectomy, and vocal cord surgery due to the toll on his body caused from his physical movie roles.

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The star claims that this depression led to the decline in his career.

In addition to his leading role in The Whale, Fraser stars in Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming crime thriller No Sudden Move alongside Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, David Harbour, Jon Hamm, Ray Liotta and Kieran Culkin. 

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