No one is denying that Brendan Fraser is a talented actor, in fact it is kind of depressing how many people are just now realizing this fact, especially that they're basing it on his performance in the offensively fatphobic film The Whale. Regardless of his talent, and his slight connection to the the material, The Whale is an atrocious portrayal of fat people which could've been rectified with the involvement of actual fat people both behind the camera, as well as in front.
Over the last decade, conversations regarding casting have popped up again and again. For nearly any movie that deals with a marginalized community, people have asked: Who is allowed to tell this story?
Often the response, arguing against authentic casting is that roles should be cast to the best actor. And while that is true, the question remains: Are actors who fit the role given the opportunity to audition? To actually ensure the best person is cast, the opportunities must be provided.
Which brings us back to The Whale. Yes, Fraser has gained weight over the years (as humans do), and YES, he is an incredible actor. He absolutely deserves praise and awards, but he's not a Fat Queer man. So how can he win a role as the best person for it when there are (at least) two fat gay men who have been very vocal about their lack of opportunity to be considered?
Both Guy Branum (Bros) and Daniel Franzese (Mean Girls) are best known for their comedic work, but many actors have transitioned from comedy to drama - Fraser himself was better known for comedy in the early 90s before becoming an action and drama star - Back in September, Franzese told People, The Whale was an opportunity “to be in a prestige film that might be award-nominated, where stories about people who look like us are being told? That's the dream."
No one is saying that casting Branum or Franzese automatically would have been better or worse for The Whale, but since they were never even given the opportunity to find out, we'll never know.