Brendan Fraser’s Autistic Son Helped Shape His Performance In ‘The Whale’


Brendan Fraser revealed how his eldest son Griffin, who is autistic and obese, inspired his interpretation of his latest role in The Whale. This is the first movie the 53-year-old is making in 10 years after taking time off the spotlight to focus on his health.

The actor, who portrays the role of Charlie, an overweight father in the upcoming psychological drama, told Interview Magazine that he knows the feeling of living with an obese person. “I have three kids of my own. My oldest son Griffin has special needs,” he explained. “He’s autistic. He just turned 20. He’s a big kid. He’s six foot five. He’s got big hands and feet, a big body. I understand intimately what it is to be close to a person who lives with obesity.”


Brendan Fraser describes his son’s condition

January 22, 2014. New York City
Brendan Fraser attending a Roadside Attractions & Day 28 Films with The Cinema Society screening of “Gimme Shelter” at Museum of Modern Art on January 22, 2014 in New York City.

The 53-year-old spoke about the details of Griffin’s condition, which sets him apart as one of the happiest people on earth.


“And because of the beauty of his spectrum – call it a disorder if you will, I disagree with you – he knows nothing of irony. He doesn’t know what cynicism is. You can’t insult him. He can’t insult you.” He remarked. “He’s the happiest person and is, in my life and many others’, also the manifestation of love.”

RELATED: Watch Brendan Fraser As A 600-Lb. Man In The Official Trailer For ‘The Whale’

Brendan Fraser explains how his role urged him to help others and pledges his assistance

The actor explained that his role as Charlie became an eye-opener for him as he began to research extensively into the lives and challenges of obese people thus, he became dedicated to the cause.

“I think about this guy all the time. I interviewed people on Zoom calls in researching for this, connections made possible by Dr. Goldman at the Obesity Action Coalition. It’s a support and resource group that has a huge following and membership online,” Fraser revealed. “It’s essentially a place where families and people who live with people who are obese, or are obese, can go to when they need health services, referrals, everything. It’s a wonderful organisation.”

JOURNEY TO THE END OF THE NIGHT, Brendan Fraser, 2006. ©NU IMAGE/courtesy Everett Collection

Also, the father of three made a decision to be actively involved with the group after relating with members of the Obesity Action Coalition and listening to their individual experiences.

“The people I talked to gave me something so honest that I really questioned if I was qualified to have this information. Something I learned, as heartbreaking as it is, is that each person who told me their story had one thing in common: There was someone in their youth who was very cruel to them by the way they spoke to them, and it set in motion the rest of their life. Sadly, it most often was a father, I noticed,” Fraser disclosed. “So when I learned that, I was like, ‘Well, I’ve got to try and do something to break that cycle.’ And if this is what I can contribute, that’s good enough for me.”

He expresses contentment with his performance in “The Whale

Many movie lovers and critics have noted that Fraser’s delivery of his role is a performance worthy of snagging some awards. The actor, on his part, seems to differ in his opinion.

BEDAZZLED, Brendan Fraser, 2000. TM and Copyright © 20th Century Fox Film Corp. All rights reserved. Courtesy: Everett Collection.

“I’d like to think carefully, with gratitude, and without expectation, because really, I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I don’t feel like I have something to prove,” he revealed to Interview Magazine. “Either it’s for you or it’s not. Either way, it’ll be okay. And insofar as awards and the cumulative effect of that goes, I’m pretty new to this, so I’m learning as I go along and I’m grateful for the affirmation.”

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