Fans of The Mummy franchise will best know Brendan Fraser for his portrayal of American adventurer Rick O’Connell and his quests to defeat a series of resurrected ancient Egyptians with supernatural powers – one of which being the Scorpion King, played by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.
Returning to cinemas following a hiatus from playing leading roles – widely dubbed as his ‘Brenaissance’ – the 54-year-old has swapped the world of action and adventure for drama, starring in The Whale as a morbidly obese recluse who tries to reconnect with his teenage daughter.
Speaking about the film and its portrayal of obesity, Fraser has spoken out about society’s treatment of people with the disease, calling for the ‘need to stop the bias against those with obesity’.
‘That would be a step in the right direction,’ he said in an interview with the BBC. ‘We can often lose sight that those are human beings with thoughts and feelings and hearts and families and everything. And it’s a story that’s being played out behind closed doors.
‘So often many of the people told me, when they were quite young, there was a figure who was either a parent, teacher, an adult, who spoke to them in a way that was recriminating.
‘Fundamentally, being hurtful towards one another with what we say can have real life health concerns. And it seems like a simple enough thing we can do better to change that.’
Fraser has also spoken about the physical challenges of the role and his appreciation for the strength of those who live with obesity after wearing prosthetics designed to imitate the weight of someone with the disease.
Appearing on The Graham Norton Show, he said: ‘It was appropriately heavy and that really made the experience of playing the part feel a lot closer to what it would feel like to live in the body of a man that size.
‘To be a person of that size, you really have to be very strong physically and emotionally, and I grew to appreciate that by having played this part.’
While Fraser has received critical acclaim for his role in the film, with many praising the actor for his performance, The Whale has also attracted a fair amount of criticism, with others claiming it is fatphobic and feeds into negative stereotypes.
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