Everything we know about the upcoming A24 drama

Upcoming A24 drama The whale marks Darren Aronofsky’s first directing effort since Mother! in 2017. It also marks the start of the career resurgence of actor Brendan Fraser, lovingly dubbed The Brenaissance by fans. Written by Samuel D. Hunter and based on his play of the same name, the film paints a sensitive portrait of a reclusive English teacher struggling with severe obesity and a strained relationship with his teenage daughter.

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Premiering this year, it will join the ranks of equally heartfelt emotional A24 dramas, such as The farewell and minari. With big performances to expect, here’s everything we know about The whale so far.

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There is no trailer for The whale yet, but luckily Hunter’s play provides all the information there is to know about the film’s story. The critically acclaimed play made its off-Broadway debut in 2012 and won several awards, including a Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play and a GLAAD Media Award for Best New York Theatre. The obese man mentioned in the film’s synopsis is Charlie, who weighs 600 pounds and works as an online writing teacher. Charlie is portrayed as disgusting and self-deprecating, his weight being the result of the guilt he felt after abandoning his family for his gay lover, who later died.


Other characters in the play include his teenage daughter, Ellie; his ex-wife, Mary; her longtime nurse friend, Liz; and a young Mormon missionary named Elder Thomas. The play sees Charlie attempt to rebuild his relationship with Ellie for one last chance at redemption. A Chicago Grandstand review of The whale describes it as “devastating” but also “very funny”, exploring themes of parenthood, teaching, religion and body image, as well as “the price paid by same-sex couples born into the wrong state or a few years too soon”.

Brendan Fraser, in prosthetics, will direct The whale like Charlie. The actor has starred in many blockbuster films over his decades-long career and is best known for his roles in George of the Jungle and The Mummy trilogy. Fraser was a popular figure in Hollywood, mostly appearing in high-profile action-adventure films, then for a few years he disappeared. Problems in his personal life caused him to take a break from his acting career, but now he’s back and better than ever, with new projects on the way, including the Martin Scorsese film. The Moonflower Slayers and Max Barbakow Brothers.


Actress Sadie Sink will play Ellie, Fraser’s daughter in the film. Sink made its breakthrough with Netflix strange things, and also starred in the biographical drama The glass castle and the second installment of the horror trilogy street of fear. Join them in The whale is Samantha Morton (Minority report, The Walking Dead) as Mary, Hong Chau (Downsizing, watchmen) as Liz, Ty Simpkins (Insidious, Avengers: Endgame) as Elder Thomas, and Sathya Sridharan (Bikini Moon, Minor premise) in an unspecified role.

Darren Aronofsky is known for making enigmatic and often disturbing films that generally fall under the psychological subgenre. His notable works include Requiem for a dream, Black Swanand, more recently, Mother! Released in 2000, Requiem for a Dream is a psychological drama starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly and Marlon Wayans as four people struggling with drug addiction. The film was critically acclaimed, with Ellen Burstyn winning the Best Actress Oscar.


10 years later, Black Swan was also critically acclaimed; a psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis as ballet dancers in a deadly rivalry, it received 5 Academy Award nominations and 4 Golden Globe nominations, with Portman winning Best Actress at both awards ceremonies. Aronofsky’s last film, Mother! received mixed reviews due to its controversial portrayal of biblical violence and allegories, but does the same as a psychological horror about a young woman (Jennifer Lawrence) whose quiet existence is disrupted when her poet husband ( Javier Bardem) invites strangers to their country house.


Author Samuel D. Hunter has written several other plays, including the Obie Award-winning A Bright New Boise and the recent A case for the existence of God. He also wrote and produced episodes of the comedy-drama series Baskets, starring Louie Anderson and Zach Galifianakis. Aronofksy’s longtime collaborator, Matthew Libatique (A star is born, don’t worry darling), will be responsible for the cinematography of The whalewith Rob Simonsen (500 days of summer, Ghostbusters: Afterlife) providing the score. Aronofsky’s production company, Protozoa Pictures, will produce the film and A24 will distribute it.

The whale will premiere at the 79th Venice International Film Festival in September 2022 and does not yet have a theatrical release date. At the festival, the film will be screened alongside Andrew Dominik Blond, by Olivia Wilde don’t worry darlingand Ti West pearlwhich is also an A24 version.

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