Darren Aronofsky (The Fountain, Requiem for a Dream) is teaming up with A24 for the first time on a new movie called The Whale.
The film will be an adaptation of playwright Samuel D. Hunter‘s 2012 stage play of the same name, with Hunter on board to write the screenplay. Brendan Fraser (The Mummy, Doom Patrol) is attached to star.
Discussing Film first broke the news about Aronofsky’s next movie, and Deadline later revealed that Fraser will star. Here’s a description of the story:
On the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho, a six hundred pound recluse hides away in his apartment, eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen. Big-hearted and fiercely funny, The Whale tells the story of a man’s last chance at redemption, and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places.
“Adapting my play into a screenplay has been a real labor of love for me,” Hunter said in a statement. “This story is deeply personal and I’m very thankful it will have the chance to reach a wider audience. I’ve been a fan of Darren’s ever since I saw Requiem for a Dream when I was a college freshman writing my first plays, and I’m so grateful that he’s bringing his singular talent and vision to this film.”
Fraser spent the late 1990s and early 2000s as one of the film industry’s next big leading men, only for his body to start breaking down on him due to injuries sustained while performing. He also alleges that he was sexually assaulted, which caused him to become reclusive. But over the past few years, he has slowly re-established himself as a fascinating screen presence working on shows like The Affair, Trust, and Doom Patrol, and scoring a role in an upcoming Steven Soderbergh film. The Whale will be one of his most high-profile movie roles of the past ten years.
Aronofsky directed The Wrestler and Black Swan in 2008 and 2010, respectively, and that one-two punch of films – both of which earned Oscar attention for their lead actors – represents the last time he directed anything remotely commercial. 2014’s Noah was an unconventional telling of the Biblical story of the ancient flood, while 2017’s mother! (which absolutely rules, by the way) was the equivalent of being tossed into the deep end of a chaos pool as we followed Jennifer Lawrence’s character through the world’s most horrifying house party. The idea of Aronofsky making a movie about a 600-pound recluse who’s eating himself to death would be wildly anti-commercial in Hollywood’s eyes, but regardless of how this turns out, I’m glad that the director is still taking big swings at this stage of his career.
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