Brendan Fraser in tears during five minute standing ovation at London screening of The Whale

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Brendan Fraser received another lengthy standing ovation for his movie The Whale. which screened at the London Film Festival on Tuesday.

The actor broke down in tears during the five minute ovation for the film, which marks his Hollywood comeback after years spent grappling with depression following a claim of sexual assault alongside multiple health issues. 

In video shared by a guest, an emotional Brendan, 53, is seen bowing to rapturous applause from the audience before embracing director Darren Aronofsky and screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter who joined him on stage. 

Brendan Fraser in tears during five minute standing ovation at London screening of The Whale

Tears: Brendan Fraser received another lengthy standing ovation for his movie The Whale. which screened at the London Film Festival on Tuesday

‘Am I at Venice? 5 min standing ovation for Brendan Fraser’s masterpiece performance in #TheWhale. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand the entire movie. My heart is in my throat,’ one audience member wrote alongside the video.

Brendan was proudly supported by his glamorous partner Jeanne Moore as he graced the red carpet for the UK premiere on the seventh day of the BFI London Film Festival. 

The Whale, which will be released in cinemas in December, received its first premiere at the Venice Film Festival last month, and is quickly earning rave reviews as well as Oscars buzz for its lead star.

In footage shared on social media following the film’s Venice screening, Brendan fought back tears as he received another lengthy standing ovation. 

Moment: An emotional Brendan, 53, is seen bowing to rapturous applause from the audience before embracing director Darren Aronofsky and screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter

Moment: An emotional Brendan, 53, is seen bowing to rapturous applause from the audience before embracing director Darren Aronofsky and screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter

Fans and friends on Twitter loved Fraser’s emotional reaction, with his The Mummy co-star Dwayne Johnson writing a message of support.

‘Man this makes me so happy to see this beautiful ovation for Brendan. He supported me coming into his Mummy Returns franchise for my first ever role, which kicked off my Hollywood career.

‘Rooting for all your success brother and congrats to my bud Darren Aronofsky.’ 

The Whale is a psychological drama which saw Brendan undergo a physical transformation, as he plays a 600-pound gay man confined to a wheelchair, a role for which he also had to wear prosthetics.

Its official synopsis reads: ‘A reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.’

The movie is based on the play of the same name, written by Samuel D. Hunter, who came on board as the screenwriter for the film.

Comeback: The actor broke down in tears during the five minute ovation for the film, which marks his Hollywood comeback after years spent grappling with depression

Comeback: The actor broke down in tears during the five minute ovation for the film, which marks his Hollywood comeback after years spent grappling with depression

Acclaimed performance: The Whale, which will be released in cinemas in December, received its first premiere at the Venice Film Festival last month, and is quickly earning rave reviews

Acclaimed performance: The Whale, which will be released in cinemas in December, received its first premiere at the Venice Film Festival last month, and is quickly earning rave reviews

Aronofsky first saw Hunter’s play in 2012 and asked the writer to work on a screenplay, but it took them close to a decade to get the project off the ground, largely due to the unfruitful search for a leading man.

‘I thought about every movie star playing Charlie, and it never made sense or clicked,’ the director told Vanity Fair last month. 

‘If there’s no risk, then why bother?’ Brendan explained of his first conversations with Aronofsky. ‘I want to learn from the people I’m working with at this point in my career.’

‘I’ve had such variety, a lot of high highs and low lows, so what I’m keen for, in the second half of my time doing this, is to feel like I’m contributing to the craft and I’m learning from it. This is a prime opportunity. I wanted to disappear into it. My hope was that I would become unrecognizable.’ 

The film is set to hit theaters on December 9, and marks Brendan’s first lead role in a movie since straight-to-DVD thriller Breakout in 2013, leading many fans to believe this is his comeback.

Fraser shot to stardom when he was cast in children’s favourite film franchises George of the Jungle and The Mummy.

His unbelievably chiselled physique earnt him a position as a Hollywood heartthrob as he thrashed around the sets performing stunts in high-action roles. But Fraser revealed in a later interview the toll the stunts had taken on his body.

He told GQ in 2018 that when he filmed the third installment in The Mummy franchise, he was being taped up and was icing injuries in between takes.

Picture perfect: Brendan was proudly supported by his glamorous partner Jeanne Moore at the UK premiere of The Whale at the BFI London Film Festival on Tuesday

Picture perfect: Brendan was proudly supported by his glamorous partner Jeanne Moore at the UK premiere of The Whale at the BFI London Film Festival on Tuesday

Speaking from his home in Bedford, New York, he said the physical toll of his roles made him feel like a workhorse from the Orwell novel Animal Farm.

After rising to fame through the action-packed films, Fraser described his buff physique as resembling ‘a walking steak’.

In the same interview the actor revealed he believed he had been blacklisted from Hollywood after he claimed he had been sexually assaulted by the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, in 2003.

Fraser claimed he was leaving a luncheon hosted by the HFPA at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Hollywood when Berk shook his hand.

Brendan’s comeback: How George of the Jungle star who fell out of the spotlight is tipped for Oscars glory

Brendan rose to fame in the 1990s after starring in George of the Jungle as a hunky Tarzan-like figure with a chiseled physique

Brendan rose to fame in the 1990s after starring in George of the Jungle as a hunky Tarzan-like figure with a chiseled physique

After making his film debut as a sailor in 1991 film Dogfight alongside River Phoenix, Fraser’s big break came the following year in Encino Man.

He played the character of Link, a caveman who had been frozen for centuries and is thawed by two high school students who teach him about modern life.

Following the success of the film, he was cast in children’s favourite film franchises George of the Jungle and The Mummy.

His unbelievably chiseled physique earnt him a position as a Hollywood heartthrob as he thrashed around the sets performing stunts in high-action roles. But Fraser revealed in a later interview the toll the stunts had taken on his body.

He told GQ in 2018 that when he filmed the third installment in The Mummy franchise, he was being taped up and was icing injuries in between takes.

He said the physical toll of his roles made him feel like a workhorse from the Orwell novel Animal Farm.

After rising to fame through the action-packed films, Fraser described his buff physique as resembling ‘a walking steak’.

However, in the same interview the actor revealed he believed he had been blacklisted from Hollywood after he claimed he had been sexually assaulted by the former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Philip Berk, in 2003.

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He told his then wife, Afton Smith, about the incident but never made it public. Instead, his reps asked Berk for a written apology, which he provided, but did not admit any wrongdoing.

Speaking to GQ about the claims, Berk acknowledged he had written a letter of apology to Fraser but insisted he had not done anything wrong and dismissed Fraser’s account as ‘a total fabrication’.

In 1999 Fraser starred alongside Rachel Weisz in blockbuster The Mummy, which became a trilogy spanning almost a decade

In 1999 Fraser starred alongside Rachel Weisz in blockbuster The Mummy, which became a trilogy spanning almost a decade

After Fraser reported the claim to the HFPA he said he believed he may have been ‘blacklisted’ and was rarely invited back to the Golden Globe awards. Fraser said the incident had caused him to ‘retreat’ as he spiraled into depression.

He described feeling ‘not worthy’ as the decade wore on, leading him to take roles he was less proud of. Meanwhile, his marriage was also falling apart.

In 2016, his career picked up when he was cast in Showtime drama The Affair, starring Dominic West and Ruth Wilson. 

While promoting the role in 2016, Fraser sat down for an interview with AOL – but his demeanour during the chat raised alarm with his fans. 

As he stumbled over his words and appeared somewhat spaced out, people began to worry he was ‘depressed’.  However Fraser later revealed his mother had passed away from cancer just four days before he filmed the interview. 

He said he hadn’t done any press for a role in a long time and added he was ‘in mourning’ when the interview took place.

By 2018 Fraser’s career appeared to be back on track as he starred in FX series Trust alongside Hollywood heavyweights Donald Sutherland and Hilary Swank.

He plays James Fletcher Chase, a former CIA agent who was hired by billionaire J. Paul Getty in 1973 to find Getty’s kidnapped grandson.

After the series debuted, Vox reported it could be the beginning of the ‘Brendan Fraser renaissance’ – and as rumours swirl Fraser may be in line for several awards following his performance in The Whale, that prophecy may have come true.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fraser said: ‘His left hand reaches around, grabs my a** cheek, and one of his fingers touches me in the taint. And he starts moving it around.’

He added: ‘I felt ill. I felt like a little kid. I felt like there was a ball in my throat. I thought I was going to cry.’

Fraser claimed he was able to remove Berk’s hand before running out of the hotel and going straight home. He told his then wife, Afton Smith, about the incident but never made it public.

Instead, his reps asked Berk for a written apology, which he provided, but did not admit any wrongdoing.

Speaking to GQ about the claims, Berk acknowledged he had written a letter of apology to Fraser but insisted he had not done anything wrong and dismissed Fraser’s account as ‘a total fabrication’.

Dream team: Joining Brendan (centre) for the premiere was The Whale's director Darren Aronofsky (left) and screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter (right)

Dream team: Joining Brendan (centre) for the premiere was The Whale’s director Darren Aronofsky (left) and screenwriter Samuel D. Hunter (right)

After Fraser reported the claim to the HFPA he said he believed he may have been ‘blacklisted’ and was rarely invited back to the Golden Globe awards.

Fraser said the incident had caused him to ‘retreat’ as he spiraled into depression. He described feeling ‘not worthy’ as the decade wore on, leading him to take roles he was less proud of. 

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Meanwhile, his marriage was also falling apart. He divorced Afton Smith in 2007 after nine years of marriage and three sons together, Griffin, Leland and Holden. As part of the settlement, he was ordered to pay $50,000 a month in spousal support.

However in 2013 he sought an amendment to the agreement asking to pay less, claiming he wasn’t earning the same enormous paycheques he had received in the 1990s during his heyday and couldn’t afford the payments.

Emotional: Brendan previously got emotional while receiving a lengthy standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival for his latest film, which is already garnering him Oscars buzz

Emotional: Brendan previously got emotional while receiving a lengthy standing ovation at the Venice Film Festival for his latest film, which is already garnering him Oscars buzz

Support: Fans and friends on Twitter loved Fraser's reaction, with actor Dwayne Johnson writing a lovely message of support

Support: Fans and friends on Twitter loved Fraser’s reaction, with actor Dwayne Johnson writing a lovely message of support

Brendan said in an interview at last month’s Toronto Film Festival that his confidence is up amid the glowing reviews he’s received for his work in The Whale.

‘So often, I have just felt like a working actor who was glad to have a job: ‘What do you got? I’ll do it,” he said, according to the Toronto Star. ‘And that’s a different guy than who I am right now.’

He added: ‘In recent years, when I was a bit more reticent to step forward – have a life with kids and an oldest son with special needs, another kid who’s going to be a senior now and another one who is [learning] to drive and he’s picking up guitar – I think it just gave me a sense of purpose that I don’t know that I would have appreciated as a younger man.’

Director Aronofsky said of Fraser’s presence in the motion picture: ‘It’s the right actor, for the right part, at the right time.’

The Whale: Reviews  

THE INDEPENDENT 

Rating:

Geoffrey Macnab writes: ‘Fraser retains the genial qualities which made him so popular with audiences in mainstream 1990s movies. He demands honesty from his students but there’s nothing cynical about him.

‘The pathos is laid on very thick. At times, you wonder why a filmmaker as sophisticated as Aronofsky is resorting to such manipulative tactics. Beneath all its blubber, though, this turns out to be a film with a very big heart.’

NEW YORK POST

Rating:

Johnny Oleksinski writes:  ‘Fraser, so good, takes what could be a joke, a flat tragedy, or even a lecture about weight and imbues it with gorgeous humanity… It’s a testament to the storytelling that a character so different from so many moviegoers can make us so powerfully contemplate our own lives.’

BBC

Rating:

Nicholas Barber writes: ‘Fraser richly deserves to be nominated for a best actor Oscar, and if that doesn’t happen, I won’t just eat my hat, I’ll eat as many pizzas and cheese-and-meatball sandwiches as Charlie gets through in the film. The Brenaissance is here.’ 

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Leah Greenblatt writes:  ‘Brendan Fraser’s astonishing turn in The Whale is a tender, modest, and momentously human piece of work plonked in the midst of a drama so masochistically stilted and stagey it often feels less like a movie than an endurance test, or even worse, a parody.’

VARIETY 

Owen Gleiberman writes: ‘The Whale, while it has a captivating character at its center, turns out to be equal parts sincerity and hokum. The movie carries us along, tethering the audience to Fraser’s intensely lived-in and touching performance, yet the more it goes on the more its drama is interlaced with nagging contrivances’

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