'The Whale' Star Brendan Fraser Felt 'Sense of Vertigo' Removing 600 Ibs.-Man Prosthetic Suit

"I needed to learn to absolutely move in a new way," Brendan Fraser said of playing a 600 lbs. man in The Whale, which premiered Sunday at the Venice International Film Festival

Brendan Fraser learned from the physical challenges presented by his latest role.

Fraser, 53, detailed the "undulating feeling" of starring as Charlie in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale — for which he underwent a physical transformation to play the 600 lbs. man — as he spoke to media at the Venice International Film Festival on Sunday.

"I think it's poetic that the trauma he carries is manifest in the physical weight of his body," he said ahead of the film's premiere, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "I needed to learn to absolutely move in a new way. I developed muscles I did not know that I had. I even felt a sense of vertigo, when at the end of the day all the appliances were removed, just as you would feel stepping off the boat onto the dock here in Venice — that undulating feeling."

Brendan Fraser 'Line of Descent' premiere
Sachyn Mital/Shutterstock

"And I say this because he gave me an appreciation for those whose bodies are similar because I learned that you need to be an incredibly strong person physically and mentally to inhabit that physical being. And I think that is Charlie, also," Fraser added.

For more on the 2022 Venice Film Festival, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

On Wednesday, Fraser told Vanity Fair he took on the project after seeking a role that would help him learn "what I was capable of."

Brendan Fraser in The Whale
Brendan Fraser in The Whale (2022). Courtesy of A24

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

"If there's no risk, then why bother?" he said. "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," Fraser added.

Aronofsky, 53, told Vanity Fair that Fraser carried between 50 and 300 extra pounds during filming, depending on the contents of each scene. The movie takes place entirely within his character's home over the course of five days, according to the outlet.

In July, A24 released the first photo of Fraser as Charlie, a reclusive writing instructor who struggles to reconnect with his teenage daughter, played by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink.

RELATED VIDEO: Regé-Jean Page Attends the 79th Venice International Film Festival

The Whale marks Fraser's first leading role since 2013's Breakout, according to Variety. He had a role in last year's No Sudden Move, plus recent TV stints on shows like Doom Patrol, The Affair and Trust. Fraser was expected to play the villain in the HBO Max Batgirl movie before it was reported in August that the film was shelved indefinitely.

Samuel D. Hunter wrote the screenplay based on his play of the same name. The 2012 production debuted off-Broadway to acclaim from The New York Times, and it won a Drama Desk Award, the Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding play and a GLAAD Media Award.

"Adapting my play into a screenplay has been a real labor of love for me," Hunter told Deadline last year. "This story is deeply personal, and I'm very thankful it will have the chance to reach a wider audience."

The Whale premieres Dec. 9 in theaters.

Related Articles