Brendan Fraser received a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival

With the Venice Film Festival underway, we’re starting to hear about the movies and performances to keep an eye on. One film that had a lot of buzz was The Whale. The Whale is about a 600-pound English teacher who is mourning the loss of his love. Part of his mourning is manifesting in slowly eating himself to death. He’s also trying to reconnect with his young daughter. The movie is based on Samuel D. Hunter’s play (he also wrote the screenplay), which was based on personal experiences. So there’s a lot there to start. The film is director’s Darren Aronofsky’s first since the controversial Mother! in 2017. And it stars Brendan Fraser. Brendan has largely been out of the spotlight due to physical issues and possibly being blacklisted in the industry after he came forward about being sexual assaulted by a former HFPA president. But his fans missed him and only ever want good things for him. And they told him that in Venice, when he received a six-minute standing ovation following a screening of The Whale.

Actor Brendan Fraser received a six-minute standing ovation Sunday night at the Venice Film Festival, after making a comeback to the profession following personal struggles.
Fraser was attending the world premiere of The Whale, a movie in which he plays the lead character Charlie, an English teacher reconnecting with his teenage daughter.

Fraser was preparing to exit the stage when audience members and people onstage alongside him began a round of applause. He appeared to be in tears at the response.
As video of the standing ovation circulated, Fraser received an outpouring of support online.

[From NPR]

I posted the clip of part of the ovation below. I’m sure if you were anywhere near Twitter on Sunday you saw it, along with all the tweets heaping love upon him. You can see Brendan was overwhelmed with the reception in Venice. He’s just trying to process it all in that moment and it overtaking him. Obviously, I haven’t seen the film, but I’m sure his performance merits praise. But much of that applause is also telling Brendan how much they’re glad he’s back. It’s horrible what he went through. He was shamed for gaining weight after his surgeries and recovery form the injuries he sustained on The Mummy. And then he was iced out after he made the abused claims, just watched his career dry up with no recourse. And yes, I realize he experienced what most women in Hollywood experience. You don’t hear bad things about Brendan on set. And they were still able to damage his career. I hope this truly is his comeback. I think he deserves it.

Although not everyone is happy with him in this role. Because Brendan is not a 600-pound man. He wore both a suit and had CGI to complete the look on film. Darren claims it took him 10 years to cast the role after looking at “everyone” and that includes all shapes and sizes. I don’t know who Darren saw specifically but what we do know is that those folks in Venice were certainly happy with what Brendan did with the role. So for now, I’m here for the Brendan love.

Photo credit: Avalon Red, Cover Images and Twitter

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53 Responses to “Brendan Fraser received a standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival”

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  1. Belli says:

    His expression at seeing such an outpouring of love towards him made me so emotional. He looked overwhelmed with it all.

    Welcome back, Brendan.

  2. IForget says:

    Oh I only want good things for him. His little foot when he kicked it in an ‘aww shucks’ kind of way was so wholesome. Very glad to see him back in action.

    Between that and watching the Taylor Hawkins tribute concert, I’ve been silently weeping on and off the past few days! Very cathartic though, I think I needed it.

    • lucy2 says:

      I saw some clips of the concert, Taylor’s son is one hell of a drummer too. I can’t imagine the pain that poor kid is in, but it’s good to see such love and support around him.

      Same for Brendan, he’s been dealt some tough stuff, it’s nice to see him having success again and being appreciated.

  3. SAS says:

    I imagine discourse around this film will be a mess of fatphobia (I’ve already seen a review comparing his character to Jabba the Hutt) and eating disorder misinformation.

    BUT I do wish the best for Brendan and I hope he gets all the work he wants. He’s lovely.

  4. Runaway says:

    Nothing but love from me, so glad to see Brendan back, he was always a joy to watch as he always seemed to truly enjoy himself.

    • L84Tea says:

      That’s what I’ve always liked abut Brenden Fraser, that he always seems to enjoy his work and never took himself too seriously. I remember actually arguing with a guy who I went on a few dates with in college about him–he was basically making fun of him and the roles he played and I was just not having it. I’m so thrilled to see BF back and working again. He’s been missed.

      • Kimmy says:

        My college boyfriend turned me on to School Ties. We watched it a lot and I still do if I am scrolling and see it available!

  5. Abby says:

    I saw this clip yesterday and it made me tear up. I wish Brendan all the good things in life.

    I don’t know if I’ll see this movie, but I am glad he’s getting recognition, and hope he can get more work if he wants it.

  6. Digital Unicorn says:

    Have always been a fan of his and often wondered what happened to his career – so sad to hear that he was likely black balled. Am glad he’s back making movie etc.. – I watched a few eps of his show Professionals and he was great in it.

  7. Owlsyn (has seen Monkeybone) says:

    I’m not sure about *this particular film* but I hope it leads to many many more projects for him. Does anyone know if he’s working on something else now?

    • Mia4s says:

      He just finished a movie with Martin Scorsese and DiCaprio: Killers of the Flower Moon. It should be at Cannes next year. He really does seem lovely so I hope he continues to thrive!!

      One of the things I love though is the he just kept working and being unproblematic when his injuries allowed. His TV work in a The Affair and especially in FX’s Trust miniseries is terrific. In Trust he plays the same character Mark Whalberg played in “All the Money in the World” and is soooooo much more interesting! 😁

      • Owlsyn (is very worried, Darling) says:

        Thank you 🙂

        As soon as I posted this I remembered he had been on DC’s Doom Patrol, and he apparently had a (different) role in the cancelled Batgirl movie as well?

      • lucy2 says:

        I will have to check out Trust, FX does good series, and Fraser > Walberg.

      • Becks1 says:

        Killers of the Flower Moon should be REALLY good. The book is great.

      • Abby says:

        OMG Killers of the Flower Moon is a devastating book that everyone needs to read. I am really excited to hear they’re making a movie out of it. YAY Brendan!

  8. dina says:

    This is very sweet – he deserves all the love.

  9. May says:

    He’s been through a lot. I’m glad he’s been making a comeback. This is the kind of role the Academy loves, so I can see him getting an Oscar nomination. He’s in the character actor stage of his career, which will hopefully open up a variety of roles for him.

  10. Emily says:

    Of course they weren’t going to cast someone who actually weighs 600lbs. That’s an incredibly unhealthy size.

    So happy Brendan is making a comeback. George of the Jungle was my first crush.

    • Izzy says:

      It’s not physically possible for someone that size to go through the daily grind of a movie shoot.

      • Lou says:

        I believe his weight changes hugely in the film too, so a 600 pound person could not play the 300 pound scenes.

        I think there is a big difference between a skinny Hollywood person wearing a fat suit for jokes and a person like Brendan, who is overweight, wearing one. I say that as someone overweight myself, but I am not obese so obviously could not speak for how they might feel about the film.

        I adore Brendan so am definitely biased in his favour, but I’m hoping the film is a sensitive look at a story worth telling. I’m sure some reviewers will manage to be horribly crass and insensitive though.

    • lunchcoma says:

      The movie is also written and directed by thin people. There seemingly isn’t any health reason to prevent a fat screenwriter’s script about being fat from being produced, but that doesn’t happen, either.

      The fact that the protagonist’s weigh is a specific and extreme number isn’t coincidental. It’s part of the “let’s make a condescending movie about this weird group of people” genre, which persists because people keep rewarding it.

      • Izzy says:

        That was an unnecessary oversight, they could have had a much more nuanced perspective that would have given more depth and layers to the subject matters in the film.

      • Jenn says:

        I was thinking about this earlier. It doesn’t escape me that Aronofsky is, for all intents, a *horror* director, and the playwright was definitely coming from a place of “could this happen to me?” (Of course; between hypercortisolism, PCOS, and everything else, fatness can “happen” to anyone.) We live in an incredibly fatphobic society. So I won’t be watching, but of course I send all my love to Brendan Fraser.

  11. SarahCS says:

    The more we finally learned about what had happened to him the worse it got and he seems like such a decent guy. I’m so happy that he’s back in the business and seeing the love that people have for him.

    I’m less convinced about this film but I hope it leads to more good things for Brendan.

    • Izzy says:

      Did we ever find out what happened with the guy who assaulted him? I know he avoided consequences for quite a while because it wasn’t widely known what happened, but once it got out, did anyone ever hold the creep accountable?

      • Izzy says:

        Yeesh, I checked, and the guy never faced consequences for the SA. It was a former president of the HFPA, they finally expelled him in 2021 because of a racist email he sent.

  12. Jessamine says:

    Love this, love him. Onward and upward, Brendan!

  13. Izzy says:

    I have always loved Brendan Fraser and was so angry when it came out that he was blackballed for speaking out about his SA. I’m glad his career is starting to blossom again. He deserves it.

    The FA community is enraged that they hired a “normal sized” actor and not one who actually weighs 600 lbs. While I am generally in favor of casting actors who are overweight for roles of characters who are overweight, it’s not possible to have someone that size working on a movie in this capacity. It’s demanding work with 10-hour days, and the unfortunate reality is that at 600 lbs a human body can’t handle the stress. People that size are generally not mobile, and their breathing is significantly impaired by the sheer weight crushing their organs. They get completely breathless just making the effort to stand, never mind walk across a room.

    I actually hope this movie sparks a more honest public discussion about obesity as a chronic disease, the true burden of it, and food addiction, because right now there is a whole community out there spreading misinformation about how being obese is healthy and just changing eating habits to lose weight is a disorder in itself. Meanwhile there has been an alarming spike of obesity and T2D in teenagers.

    • lisa says:

      agree with all you said, also an actor in that weight range would not be insurable for the duration of the film

      • Izzy says:

        That shouldn’t be the case, and unfortunately it is. I would love to see more discussion in the public sphere about what science HAS learned about obesity. It’s not perfect but it has come a long way from “eat less and move more” (thanks, Captain Obvious), and phen-phen (“here, have some speed, it’ll help you lose weight”; REALLY?!)

    • Tara says:

      Yes. To all of this. Thank you for saying it.

    • CS says:

      Your comment is a fatphobic mess. Our society really knows very little about nutrition and the true causes of weight gain. Fat people get far inferior healthcare and are treated horribly in real life and online. Our society sends a constant message not only that fat is bad/unhealthy but also a moral failing. I think most if not all fat activists will concede that 600 pounds is not a good weight for overall health, but that weight is a true extreme and you don’t get there *just* because you like to eat too much.

      Fatness/weight gain is a complicated issue caused by many, many factors over a long period of time. And just because someone is fat doesn’t mean they deserve to be treated cruelly and lose access to the world. Based on the reaction so far, I don’t think this movie is going to lead people to treat fat people with kindness; in fact, it perpetuates the dehumanization of fat people.

      As a final note, BMI is racist bullshit. If anyone is interested in challenging their notions of fatness and diet culture, i I highly recommend What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Fat by Aubrey Gordon and her podcast Maintenance Phase. She has also been tweeting about her thoughts about this film, which is much more nuanced than “fat suit bad.”

      • Tan says:

        This comment right here! I challenged multiple doctors in the public system when they bring up bmi as a source they use for their background information – saying hasn’t it already been widely debunked and I either get a look of deep dissociation or being told that it’s still widely used in public hospitals – never an arguement counter to it.

      • lanne says:

        ITA about BMI, and all of the points that you made about weight gain in principle. There are still practical matters about making a film and casting someone who can be insured. Is it fatphobic to talk about an actor’s ability to get insured? No insurance, no production.

        I am sad that people feel so free to demonize people based on their size. It’s as if sizism is the last “acceptable” prejudice that can be openly expressed–the “concern-trolling” feels like glee to me, and that sucks.

      • Izzy says:

        Sorry you are offended. This movie may not change perception, which is another reason to speak louder about the issues obese people face, and the reality. As an obese person myself who had to fight like all getout to get access to a new medication that is helping me lose weight, I am VERY aware of the stigma AND the consequences of obesity. The higher the weight, the more likely there are to be dire consequences and there is absolutely a group trying to convince everyone that there is no relationship at all between obesity and a greater likelihood of T2D, hypertension, and heart disease. Denying it doesn’t make it less true.

        This movie presents an opportunity to have a public discourse about obesity: its complexity as a disease, the stigma surrounding it, how bad the healthcare system and insurance providers are at dealing with it, and how hard access to care is.

        Not going to argue with any of you about BMI. It’s a terrible system that even my own doctor and dietician roll their eyes at. It was developed to evaluate populations and is badly misapplied to individuals to their detriment. Healthcare providers and insurers have actually found a way to adjust the BMI range DOWN for Asian patients, but can’t be arsed to do the same for other populations with different body types. I call BS on that.

        As for hiring actors of size and insurance issues, yes, in an ideal world, they could get someone who is around 600 lbs to portray a character that size, and insure them and the production. Again, without an honest public discourse, that won’t happen.

      • MissM says:

        Bmi might not always be accurate (my size 2 friend is regarded as obese because she’s all muscle) but when you are clearly overweight, don’t exercise, and get winded going up one flight of stairs, then yes it’s going to be fairly accurate. I’m considered obese and while I’m fairly active, I’m fully aware that the label fits. Society may have changed its views on obesity and plus size individuals, but that doesn’t make it fatphobic to realize that all that weight on your joints and heart isn’t good for you.

      • AlpineWitch says:

        I’m 170 pounds and my BMI is like 28, do I consider myself obese and fat? Yes.
        Is it unhealthy to be this big? I don’t know for other people but for me it is, all sorts of joint problems, back problems have come out all together.

        I don’t know about the science behind BMI but personally being this overweight has been a disgrace and a disaster to my health. I’m not even ‘uglier’, actually weight improved my appearance but I would sell a kidney to see my weight go back to be 110 pounds, I’m tired to see my GP Dr constantly because of issues created by my weight. I tried to go on a diet but barely lost 4 pounds in 2 months. Perimenopause is also complicating everything and losing weight seems an impossible battle at the moment.

        If this makes a fatphobe against myself, then be it.

        On topic, Brendan Fraser deserves all the second chances of this world, always been a fan and always will be!! Love him and so happy to see he got a standing ovation in Venice.

      • Demona says:

        It’s so interesting how different bodies are because I’m 175, 5’5 and while I have a bit of extra padding I’m actually stronger (i can carry a 60lb dumbell) and more fit than I was at my ‘thin’ weight of 155 (which was about a 29″ waist for me). But my BMI had always said overweight and now borders on obese.

      • Jenn says:

        Great comment, CS. Nothing to add.

  14. Normades says:

    Brendan just became the front runner in the Oscar race. Everyone loves a comeback (especially in the male actor race).
    However the real breakout film from the festival is apparently The Banshees of Inisherin which sounds amazing.

  15. Kirsten says:

    Nothing but love for him. He’s an incredible actor and he seems like a wonderful human.

  16. Mila says:

    I legit teared up when he got the standing ovation and started to cry. It’s so wholesome and just wonderful to see. I truly wish him the best he’s just a wonderful man and appreciative towards his fans. We love you Brendan!

  17. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    OMG, it’s 847am and I’m crying. Kudos to BF.

  18. lunchcoma says:

    Ugh. I’m glad to see Brendan Fraser working regularly and acknowledged by his peers, but this movie sounds like a gross mess.

    The character is 600 pounds because the script decided he would be that weight and not 400 pounds or some fat person whose weight isn’t explicitly listed. Presumably that’s for shock value. The actor cast in the role is the size of Brendan Fraser rather than someone in the wide range between that and 600 pounds because the film’s creators don’t want to put a fatter actor on the red carpet.

    From the Wikipedia description, this movie doesn’t just feature a fat character. It’s about being fat, and it seems to treat that as tragic. The script was written by one thin white man and directed by another. There don’t seem to be any fat actors in other parts in the script. This has all the hallmarks of exploitive Oscar bait that’s made about a stigmatized group of people without including any perspectives from that group

    • AnneL says:

      I thought the original playwright wrote it based on personal experience? Maybe he didn’t get to be 600 pounds but he gained weight in unhealthy ways and for unhealthy reasons.

      I don’t see this casting in the same light as Renee Zellweger wearing a fat suit for a role. Brendan Fraser is heavyset for an actor. He gained weight after undergoing surgery for injuries, and that weight gain also made him the target of mockery and probably hurt his career. So while he isn’t that level of obese or anything, he isn’t someone who is and has always been thin like Zellweger. He can genuinely empathize.

      I don’t know if I’ll watch this or not but I’m glad he’s back and getting more chances.

    • Ange says:

      His being fat in the play IS tragic. He gains the weight for tragic reasons and the play is set in his final days before dying from heart failure. It’s not a happy coincidence the character is the size he is, it was a deliberate and sad choice and it fits. You don’t get to that size without having some demons.

  19. Wednesday Addams says:

    I know a talent agent who worked with Brendan Fraser and she said he is one of the nicest, most decent men in the business. He deserves all the good things.

    • Izzy says:

      I don’t recall ever hearing someone who worked with him having anything bad to say about him. That speaks volumes, especially in this industry. I love that his career is coming back and I hope directors start offering him more great roles, he has the chops for it and people want to watch him on screen.

  20. Eating Popcorn says:

    I did not know any of that of him being black balled for talking about being SA. This makes me so sad. Hollywood really is a cesspit.

  21. tealily says:

    He’s just always seemed like such a nice guy. Normally I hate the ol’ “aw shucks” routine, but it is so obviously genuine here. I’m so glad that we have him back. Gonna go watch Gods and Monsters and Encino Man, because his tastes are as varied as mine. ❤️

  22. Well Wisher says:

    I am genuinely happy for him. He is a decent man with talent.
    Kudos to him.
    Well deserved.

  23. MsGnomer says:

    Great news! Thanks for posting. I have always loved this actor for his huge heart.

  24. lifty says:

    Loved him in The Quiet American, Blast from the Past, and Gods and Monsters. Underrated actor who can do comedy and serious drama. Good for Brendan!

    The only movie I can remember with an actor who was really obese IRL is Gilbert Grape with Leo Di Caprio, Depp, and Juliette Lewis. The mum did a good job but I don’t know about insurance and the logistics and risks. The ethics of all of that plus workplace regulations (are obese people to be classified and treated like someone with a physical disability, for example?) would be interesting if someone in the know can break it down.