“I took some personal time. It was important,” says Fraser. “Mostly connecting with my life as a father. It gave me an appreciation for my capacity to love. What I learned informs the latter half of my professional life now.”
“Now I know my purpose. Take everything I’ve learned. Own it. And, if possible, let if fuel the work that comes before me,” adds Fraser. “It’s a nice idea, but what work will come before me?”
At a Beverly Hills, California, luncheon in 2003, Fraser was groped by Hollywood Foreign Press Association member Philip Berk, Fraser said in 2018. (Berk disputed Fraser’s account.) The experience, Fraser told GQ, made him feel like “something had been taken away from me” and “made me retreat”.
Last month, Fraser announced he won’t attend the Golden Globes in January, whether he’s nominated or not. “My mother didn’t raise a hypocrite,” Fraser said. Still, the nature of awards campaigns will likely keep Fraser in the public eye through the Oscars in March. Is he at all trepidations about being back in the spotlight?
“I think it’s going to be for the rest of my career,” Fraser replies. “No. I have an obligation to do this. I feel duty bound to, as politely as I can, to use that casual prejudice to describe this character, to remind them that there’s a better way of doing that. Obesity is the last domain of accepted, casual bigotry that we still abide.”
During shooting on a sound stage in Newburgh, New York, Chau was often impressed by how Fraser worked steadily with a hundred pounds of cumbersome prosthetics on him and crew members buzzing around him before every take.
“I just thought Brendan was such an angel and so gracious in the way he managed that and compartmentalised all that was going on around him,” says Chau. “I naturally felt like taking care of him on set. Making sure his water bottle was someplace close by. Holding his hand and making sure he got up off the couch OK.”
Little about the film, or Fraser’s journey with it, was inevitable. His first meeting with Aronofsky was in February 2020. The pandemic nearly led to the production’s cancellation.
“I gave it everything I had every day,” he says. “We lived under existential threat of COVID. An actor’s job is to approach everything like it’s the first time. I did but also as if it might be the last time.”
Instead, Fraser’s performance opened an entire new chapter for him as an actor. He recently shot a supporting role in Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Killers Of The Flower Moon. Pondering what comes next, though, will have to wait until another day. When the time for the interview is through, Fraser stands up and graciously pulls a bag out of his pocket.
“Gummy bear for the road?” Fraser asks. “I recommend pineapple.”