With award season fast approaching, A24 released a sneak peek at The Whale on Nov. 8, in which Brendan Fraser plays a reclusive English teacher named Charlie who attempts to mend his relationship with his estranged teenage daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink).
"Do you ever get the feeling people are incapable of not caring?" he says in the clip. "People are amazing."
The Darren Aronofsky-directed film is based on the play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter, who also wrote the movie's screenplay. In September, Fraser recalled the Black Swan director's pitch.
"He told me that it's a story about a man living with a great deal of regret," Fraser told The Hollywood Reporter. "He wants to make amends with his daughter, and he's been progressively harming himself by overeating. He has very little time. And it gets to be a redemption story."
While speaking at that month's Venice International Film Festival, where the movie received a standing ovation, Fraser told THR Charlie is "the most heroic man" he's ever played, adding that his "superpower is to see the good in others and bring that out in them." And he noted Charlie is "a light in an enclosed dark space."
"I think it's poetic that the trauma he carries is manifest in the physical weight of his body," the actor, 53, said. "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. 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."
The Whale—which also features Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins and Samantha Morton—is set to be released Dec. 9.