‘Looking’ Actor Daniel Franzese on Why He’s “Conflicted” Over Brendan Fraser’s Casting in ‘The Whale’

‘Looking’ Actor Daniel Franzese on Why He’s “Conflicted” Over Brendan Fraser’s Casting in ‘The Whale’

Daniel Franzese says Brendan Fraser is a “lovely” actor but doesn’t understand why the upcoming film The Whale didn’t choose to cast a gay actor with a larger body in Fraser’s leading role.

While speaking to People, the Mean Girls and Looking star said he felt conflicted about Fraser’s casting in the Darren Aronofsky A24 film, which is based on Samuel D. Hunter’s 2012 play of the same name and follows a gay man trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter. Franzese expressed that he likes and is happy for The Mummy and Killers of the Flower Moon star, whose performance is being described as his big screen comeback. The actor and comedian still said that he is “conflicted.”

“I love Brendan Fraser. [so] I am very conflicted. I was so happy to see him in Venice, being modest and having that moment. He is a wonderful man. It’s amazing,” he said. “But why? Why go up there and wear a fat suit to play a 400-lb. queer man?”

Franzese pointed out that queer actors and Hollywood actors with larger bodies have fewer roles than straight actors with body suits for career-impacting roles.

“To finally get a chance to appear in a prestige movie that might be nominated for an award, where stories about people like me are being told?” He told the magazine that it was his dream. “So when they go again and cast someone such as Brendan Fraser, me, and the other big queer men, we’re like, “What the…?” ‘”

The Glow and Recovery Road actor went on to note that it was the kind of role he would have “loved” to read for if offered the chance. He stated, “Who knows more than an obese queer male about being obese?” “But I guess you could go ahead and wear a fatsuit and do what you got and get your Oscar. We’ll just wait .”

Franzese also discussed why queer actors have not been given the opportunity to portray queer roles on the screen in the past. He cited fear over the reception of gay representations in the international market, which can be compounded if the actor is gay.

He stated that the biggest problem in our industry right now is that people like myself and my colleagues cannot sell movies overseas if they are queer, because the world is homophobic. “Even though America is ready to have a gay lead like that, it’s hard for them to sell the movie overseas. So they get scared.”

He added: “It’s going to take risk-takers and real trailblazers to let us cut our teeth in these roles as actors, so we, too, can have a shot at a full career in Hollywood.”

In an August interview with Vanity Fair, Fraser noted that after stepping into the fat suit, “I learned quickly that it takes an incredibly strong person inside that body to be that person. This seemed to me to be both poetic and practical .”

He also shared with him what The Whale director Aronofsky had told him about his casting decision for the role. Fraser explained that he said he wanted an actor who could reintroduce. “And I wanted to be reintroduced.”

Aronofsky spent a decade searching for the right person to play the role. It began when Aronofsky saw Hunter’s play. According to the magazine, Hunter was working on the screenplay. Aronofsky struggled with the “taxing” process of finding an actor who could offer both star power and authenticity.

“I thought about every movie star playing Charlie, and it never made sense or clicked,” Aronofsky said.

The Hollywood Reporter reached out to representatives for Fraser and Aronofsky to get their comments.

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