James Corden, Tom Ford & George Clooney were all previously attached to “The Whale”

James Corden
James Corden Photo: Andy Thornley (CC license 2.0)

James Corden says he was going to play the lead role in The Whale at some point in the film’s long road to the screen.

That’s just one of several details about the controversial film’s development that the late-night host revealed to Deadline columnist Pete Hammond recently.

“I was going to play that part, and Tom Ford was going to direct,” Corden said of Brendan Fraser’s role in the film.

Corden explained that Ford’s version of the film, which is based on Samuel D. Hunter’s 2012 play, never came about because the out director and fashion designer wanted complete control of the project. Cordon added that he thought he may have been too young to do justice to the role of Charlie, a reclusive 600-pound gay man dealing with depression.

Interestingly, Corden also claimed that George Clooney briefly became involved with the project at some point, stipulating that he would only make the film if an actual 600-pound unknown actor could play the role of Charlie.

Director Darren Aronofsky’s version of The Whale, which hit theaters in December, has been widely criticized for its depiction of obesity and for casting Fraser, who wore a fat suit and prosthetics to play the lead role, rather than an actor more closely resembles the character in real life.

Aronofsky confirmed that Corden had been attached to the film at one point.

The director told Variety in October that he and casting directors had tried to find an obese actor to play Charlie, but they were unable to find anyone who “could pull off the emotions of the role.”

“There was a chapter in the making of this film where we tried to research actors with obesity,” he explained. “Outside of not being able to find an actor who could pull off the emotions of the role, it just becomes a crazy chase. Like, if you can’t find a 600-pound actor, is a 300-pound actor or 400-pound actor enough?”

Aronofsky added that he worried that an obese actor would not have been able to cope with the production schedule. “From a health perspective, it’s prohibitive,” he said. “It’s an impossible role to fill with a real person dealing with those issues.”

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