Darren Aronofsky has revealed that he spent 10 years trying to find an actor to play the lead role in The Whale before eventually deciding on Brendan Fraser.
The movie recently received a six-minute standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival. Particular praise has been sent Fraser's way for his performance as an obese man named Charlie who lives a hermit lifestyle, estranged from his daughter and dealing with losing the love of his life.
Fraser's stardom has declined over the past 20 years or so after initial hits like George of the Jungle and The Mummy franchise put him on the map.
However, there is already Oscar buzz surrounding his performance in The Whale, which has vindicated Aronofsky's choice to give him the role.
"It took me 10 years to make the movie and that's because it took me 10 years to cast the film. Casting Charlie was a huge challenge for many different reasons,” Aronofsky said at the festival.
“I considered everyone, all different types of actors. But none ever really clicked, it didn’t feel right. A couple of years ago, I caught a trailer from a low-budget Brazilian movie, I saw Brendan in it, and a lightbulb went off.
"I asked Brendan to come meet me... it just kept clicking."
Brendan Fraser on playing Charlie in The Whale
For his role as Charlie, Fraser was required to wear a prosthetic fat suit, while further alterations were made to his appearance via CGI.
"I developed muscles I did not know I had," he said at a pre-screening press conference.
"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."