News: Darren Aronofsky's 'The Whale' Begins Shooting


Earlier this year it was announced Darren Aronofsky and his company Protozoa Pictures teamed up with production company A24 and star Brendan Fraser to produce a film adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play The Whale.  An award winning Off-Broadway play conceived in 2012, it tells the story of a 600-pound man attempting to reconnect with his estranged seventeen-year-old daughter.  The project represents not only an interesting challenge for the leading actor, it also presents an opportunity for Aronofsky to regain his stature among critics and audiences after his previous film mother! (which I loved) bombed critically and commercially
At the beginning of the month, Aronofsky’s longtime cinematographer Matthew Libatique posted on his Instagram account an image of the night sky followed by a quote ‘The night before Day 1 on #thewhale’, indicating shooting of Aronofsky’s new project was about to commence.  Coupled with recent news that Insidious star Ty Simpkins recently joined the project, this is most exciting news for Aronofsky fans eager to see him get back to basics with an unrelenting character study of a tragic figure.  That Aronofsky has reunited with Libatique cements the project as one that will look characteristically gritty and shaky yet also occasionally ethereal and kind of gorgeous.
Though this is all still very early in the game and still in the throes of the uphill battles faced by films being produced amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the development is enough to keep Aronofsky fans anticipating the next move in what could be one of his most audacious pictures yet.  Not since What’s Eating Gilbert Grape or Precious has a film like this been attempted and with an auteur as distinguished as Aronofsky at the helm, the results should be affecting, disturbing and mournfully heartbreaking. 

--Andrew Kotwicki