If you think you’re a big fan of Sadie Sink’s performance in season four of “Stranger Things,” you need to get in line behind one person: her “The Whale” costar Brendan Fraser. Sink, Fraser, and their castmate Hong Chau speak to POPSUGAR about the movie, their bond, and Sink’s huge year.
“I saw this one stare down a really scary monster called Vecna,” Fraser says excitedly when “Stranger Things” comes up. “She went on to [film that] right after we finished ‘The Whale,’ and for the beautiful rage that she plays in ‘The Whale,’ Vecna did not stand a chance.” He laughs and proudly adds, “It was gorgeous.”
But Sink admits that she’s still processing people’s love for Max in season four. Sink joined the show in season two and confesses she still sometimes feels like the odd one out. “I really wasn’t expecting that, especially coming on as a new character,” she says of fan reactions. “I don’t think I ever lost that kind of impostor syndrome, just joining a big show and feeling a little out of my element.”
“I still can’t really comprehend it, but it was nice to see how people responded to Max’s arc in season four,” she adds.
In “The Whale,” Fraser plays a dying man, Charlie, who refuses to go to the hospital and get help. He has a lot of shame because he’s a fat person, and the people he interacts with can also be harsh. Chau plays Liz, Charlie’s best friend and a nurse, the only regular visitor he gets. Sink plays his daughter, Ellie, who’s furious that Charlie left her and her mother for a male student in one of his writing classes. Ellie hasn’t seen Charlie since the divorce, but in the movie, she bursts into his apartment, full of rage.
Fraser says he’s proud of the movie’s “depth of empathy” for its characters and especially Charlie. “It’s a man who lives alone in a two-bedroom apartment in anywhere Idaho, and it’s a story that’s played out behind closed doors all over the country, all over the world, and we still very often dismiss people who live with obesity for reasons that are just unfair, and we can do better,” he says. “And I think that this film is a step in that direction because you’re challenged as an audience to reorient the way that you feel compared to what you thought you knew when you walked in the door, as opposed to the story’s end. We’re gonna change some hearts and minds with this one.”
But Fraser also emphasizes that he thinks Charlie is a complicated person with “dark shades.” “There are elements to him that I think are intensely manipulative, and that’s just a testament to him being a person, not how he presents,” he says. “He’s an educator, a man. He was a lover. He is a father, he’s a person. He’s a well-rounded person.”
The movie basically takes place within just Charlie’s apartment and the space directly outside his door. Chau says that small space helped them “build this trust with each other.” “We were not playing pranks in between tapes,” she says. “It was a very serious and focused set, but there’s a joy in being able to all be working towards the same goal and having such intensity. It felt so miraculous, especially as our first projects coming out of the COVID lockdown.”
“The Whale” hits theaters Dec. 9.