Brendan Fraser Sings Sadie Sink's Praises for 'The Whale' Performance

The actor called it a 'privilege' to watch her 'win the game' on set every day at a screening in New York City this week.

The world has rejoiced in Brendan Fraser’s career renaissance, sparked by his big comeback role in The Whale, but he's not letting that go to his head.

His performance in the Darren Aronofsky-directed film has led to raucous applause at various screenings—which has been more than well-deserved—as well as an abundance of celebration over his return to the big screen, with many anticipating he'll sweep the awards circuit for his incredible work, but during a post-screening talkback, attended by Parade, at the Roxy Cinema in New York City on Wednesday, Jan. 11, which included Fraser, playwright Samuel D. Hunter, and producer Jeremy Dawson, the actor flipped the script to sing his young costar’s praises, instead.

After broaching the subject of the tumultuous relationship between Fraser’s character, Charlie, and his daughter, Ellie, played by Sadie Sink, the moderator asked how he navigated those difficult scenes, in which Ellie, who had been significantly hurt by Charlie’s actions in the past, lashed out and verbally abused him, though to little to no reaction on his part. Ultimately, he offered a lot of the credit to the woman herself.

“Well Sadie Sink has, it turns out, an incredible performance, and I had a front-row seat to watch her win the game every day,” he said. “So that was a privilege. She's taken an approach to play this role from the standpoint of a very hurt little girl, with good cause to be very angry, and it's manifested without falling into the trope of the angsty teenager.”

He describes the rage that Sink embodies as “very mature,” especially for such a young person. His character, “as an educator, as a teacher, as a disciple of the truth, implores his students, ‘Just write me something honest.’” As far as navigating that rage, he says that Charlie was written with a superpower-like ability to see, and even bring out, the good in others, even when they don’t see any in him.

“And he knows that she is infuriated with him, with good reason, and his journey—his quest—for redemption in her eyes is so close that we don't know if he's going to obtain it or not until the final gasps. But the love that he has for his child isn’t dying, clearly, and he sees in her the young woman that she will become. She's the next Francine Prose or Joyce Carol Oates; she wrote a spontaneous haiku just by muscle memory, somehow, to astonish him. He believes in her. And I think, although he does not know whether or not he'll have redemption in her eyes until he has it, he's not going to give up on her.”

The Whale is playing in theaters now.