Sadie Sink and Hong Chau discuss making The Whale


In Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, Brendan Fraser performs Charlie, a reclusive English instructor dwelling with extreme weight problems. Charlie’s illness limits his means to stroll round his residence, so he depends on his good friend, Liz (The Menu‘s Hong Chau), to be his nurse and caretaker. After a extreme well being complication, Charlie realizes his time is working out and he makes an attempt to reconnect together with his estranged daughter, Ellie (Stranger Issues star Sadie Sink).

Based mostly on Samuel D. Hunter’s play of the identical title, The Whale is a heartbreaking depiction of remorse and grief as one father makes an attempt to make amends together with his daughter, the one particular person he really cares about. The Whale challenges the viewers to seek out empathy and love in flawed characters. In an interview with Digital Traits, Sink and Chau describe their expertise filming The Whale and dealing with Fraser.

Notice: This interview has been edited for size and readability. 

Digital Traits: Ellie comes off as this offended teenager who clearly hates her dad. She’s stuffed with angst. Because the movie goes on, you begin to see there are much more layers to this character. How have been you capable of finding and showcase the humanity in Ellie?

Sadie Sink: Ellie is somebody who’s in an amazing quantity of ache, and that ache is type of manifested into these self-destructive coping mechanisms. And he or she, I believe, is somebody who finds energy and management in scaring folks. Her relationship with Charlie — I believe Charlie’s this one who she has simply constructed up as this villainous determine in her life. And when that’s confirmed flawed, I believe it turns into one of the vital complicated occasions of her life. And that’s type of what we see all through the movie, [and] all through this final week that she has with him.

Sadie Sink stares at the camera in The Whale.

On the flip facet, Liz is a humorous, sarcastic character. One second she’s joking with Charlie, and the following, she’s crying on his shoulder. Hong, how have been you capable of trip so shortly with these feelings all through the movie?

Hong Chau: I credit score the writing. I believe Sam Hunter crafted a stupendous story, and throughout the bigger story, the person scenes take you on such a roller-coaster journey the place, similar to you mentioned, the scene will begin off a technique and find yourself in a totally sudden approach. So it’s actually Sam Hunter’s reward for writing and creating such layered and sophisticated characters and conditions.

Do you assume Liz feels responsible for aiding in a few of Charlie’s dangerous habits?

Chau: You realize, it’s a extremely sophisticated relationship between Liz and Charlie. They’ve lots of historical past. I believed that all the things that she did felt actually spot-on to me as a result of if it’s straightforward so that you can say no to somebody or to chop them out of your life as a result of they’re not dwelling it the way in which you assume they need to, then that relationship in all probability wasn’t very deep to start with. They’ve a extremely deep relationship, and if you’re in a real, true relationship, you bend for folks.

Each of your characters spend nearly all of scenes alongside Brendan. We are able to begin with you, Sadie. What’s one factor that stood out about Brendan throughout filming? 

Sink: I believe there have been occasions when he was Charlie. He was this character, and he simply put 100% of himself into this position, and so it simply felt so actual in sure moments. I believe, particularly as soon as we began filming and got here out of the rehearsal interval, and we have been totally in it, and he was within the prosthetics, there was this general vitality that had simply shifted.

And it was due to Brendan, and the way in which that he performs Charlie. He’s so linked on a regular basis and so giving and beneficiant to his scene companions. It’s one thing I’m so grateful for and it simply made all the things so pure.

Hong Chau sits and stares in a scene from The Whale.
(L – R) Hong Chau/Courtesy of A24

Hong, did something shock you about Brendan throughout this course of?

Chau: Oh, my gosh. I used to be simply blown away by his graciousness daily on set. Considered one of my insecurities as an actor is working with props. I’m not coordinated or athletically inclined, so at any time when I’ve to cope with props, I simply change into like butterfingers.

And there was sooner or later particularly the place I needed to alter the oxygen on Charlie, and oh, my gosh, I simply… [Laughs] I used to be struggling, and Brendan was so affected person and so sort, and I believe it’s simply that. He’s simply an absolute sweetheart as a human being and in addition beneficiant as an actor.

The Whale is in choose theaters now and can develop nationwide later within the month.

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