“The Whale” director Darren Aronofosky has blasted critics who say his film promotes “fatphobia.”
At the center of the controversy is a fat suit worn by star Brendan Fraser, 54, who plays a 600-pound English teacher named Charlie as he struggles to rebuild his relationship with his estranged teenage daughter, played by Sadie Sink.
Aronofsky, 53 years old Reportedly, Yahoo! Entertainment he didn’t expect the criticism when he played Fraser and defended his use of prosthetic pounds – saying that ‘actors have been using make-up since the beginning of acting’.
“The lengths we went to portray the realism of makeup had never been done before,” Aronofsky said. â€œOne of the first calls I made after playing Brendan was to my makeup artist, Adrien Morot. I asked him, “Can we do something realistic?” Because if it’s going to sound like a joke, then we shouldn’t do it.”
Fraser’s transformation sparked backlash during previews this fall, with independent film critic Kathy Rife advising plus-size viewers and even those with a slimmer frame. it’s not to watch a movie.
â€œI donâ€™t recommend fat people watch The Whale,â€ Rife said. tweeted in September. â€œI can’t recommend skinny people to see it, either, because it condescends to fat people, reinforcing the notion that they are suffering because of their inability to cope.â€
In his final rebuttal, Aronofosky noted that Charlie is a multifaceted character who doesn’t fall into typical stereotypes.
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â€œObese people are usually written as bad guys or punchlines,â€ the Oscar-nominated director continued. â€œWe wanted to create a fully fleshed out character with his bad side and his good side; Charlie is very selfish, but he is also full of love and apologetic.
â€œSo [the controversy] makes no sense to me. Brendan Fraser is the right actor to play this role, and the film is an exercise in empathy,” said Aronofosky.
Fraser echoed his director on the live panel, saying that Charlie is “all the hero”, “he’s not the person he’s presenting” and that viewers shouldn’t be too quick to judge.
“He’s not someone we often dismiss,” Fraser said, referring to our culture’s demonization of obese people. “He’s a man who lives with obesity, but he’s also a father and a teacher. He is a person who can bring out the best in others, even if he can’t see it in himself. Unfortunately, he can’t do it for himself.
“I think the empathy we all felt in making this film and telling Sam Hunter’s story is something very personal to all of us,” said Fraser, who has drawn applause at screenings at various film festivals this year, including Venice, London. and Toronto, and hailed as a return for the actor.
He also received a Golden Globe nomination in 2012 for this role, written by playwright Samuel D. Hunter. “The Whale” won two off-Broadway drama awards before its big screen release.