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The Whale is a 2022 A24 film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Brendan Fraser, which plans to release sometime in September 2022. The film, which is set to debut at the Venice Film Festival, has attained controversial status based on the play it's adapted from. Brendan Fraser's role as the main character, which required a 600-pound fat suit, was widely discussed and memed online during the initial "first-look" photos released by A24 in July 2022.
The film is based on a play of the same name created by Samuel D. Hunter, with the synopsis revolving around a 600-pound reclusive man that is given one last chance at redemption by trying to reconnect with his daughter. The play was performed in 2013 at the South Coast Repertory with select excerpts from it uploaded to YouTube on March 18th, 2013, where it gained over 32,000 views in nine years (shown below).
On July 26th, 2022, early first-look photos were revealed from the set by A24's official Twitter account, showing Brendan Fraser in his fat suit and short hair, while revealing that the film will be shown at the Venice Film Festival later in the year (shown below). The tweet received over 8,000 likes and 1,000 retweets in roughly one week, inspiring many reactions in the thread and viral discussion shortly after.
First-look Photos Reaction
The online reaction after the photo reveals on July 26th, 2022, was swift and mixed. A notable negative sentiment followed the reveal with many Twitter users upset at how Brendan Fraser was purportedly perpetuating anti-fat Hollywood stereotypes by accepting the character and wearing a fat suit for it, with others wondering where actual fat actors are in these times as one of them should have taken up the acting challenge. The discourse in the following hours and days largely consisted of people who had not heard of or read the source material, such as a tweet by @blackqueeriroh (shown below, left), and those who had either seen or read the source material, like a tweet by @bluestockinsara (shown below, right), with both being against the movie for primarily the same reasons.
There were, however, some who were supportive of Brendan Fraser and his decision to go through with this role. For example, on July 26th, Twitter user @J_fassler stated that by previously seeing the play the movie is based on, Fraser could be a front-runner for the best actor award because of how deep this character-driven piece is (shown below).
The Only Frame from The Whale
The Only Frame From The Whale refers to a series of memes that claim that the entire movie The Whale only has one frame in it. Spawned by a promotional image of Brandon Fraser as the main character Charlie being overused for news articles about the film, the joke gained popularity in mid-March 2023.
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