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James Corden Originally in Talks for Controversial Lead of The Whale

James Corden Originally in Talks for Controversial Lead of The Whale

James Corden; The Whale
Shutterstock; A24

The late-night host thought he was too young to do the role justice.

Brendan Fraser has received a lot of attention for his performance as Charlie in Darren Aronofsky's The Whale, but James Corden almost got all of that attention for himself.

Corden told Deadline that he was originally tapped to play the part, and Tom Ford was going to direct. With Ford wanting to keep more control over the project, he ultimately walked away from the director's chair and left Corden empty-handed with the role.

Being much younger at the time when this happened, Corden believes that this was ultimately the right choice. Overall, the late-night talk show host doesn't think he would have been able to do the role justice.

Corden also noted that George Clooney was attached to this project prior to Aronofsky ultimately taking the reins. Alas, complications rose around Clooney's desire to have an actual 600-pound "unknown" actor playing the lead role.

Aronofsky confirmed that the role could have originally gone to Corden, but patience played a key factor in finding the right actor. The process of making the movie as a whole took around 10 years, and the film's release has helped Fraser step back into the spotlight.

The film, which follows Charlie's journey in trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter, also helped Fraser connect to his oldest son, Griffin. "Griffin has special needs," Fraser told Interview. "He's autistic. He just turned 20. He's a big kid. He's six foot five. He's got big hands and feet, a big body. I understand intimately what it is to be close to a person who lives with obesity."

Griffin is apparently a lot like Charlie in the sense that "he doesn't know what cynicism is. You can't insult him. He can't insult you. He's the happiest person and is, in my life and many others', also the manifestation of love."

Fraser received a six-minute standing ovation following the film's premiere at the Venice Film Festival, marking a big comeback for Fraser's career in Hollywood.

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Andrew J. Stillman