Aronofsky is directing his adaptation of “The Whale” from a screenplay by Samuel D. Hunter, who originally wrote it as a stage play in 2012. Here’s the official synopsis for the play, via Playwright Horizons:
On the outskirts of Mormon Country, Idaho, a six hundred pound recluse hides away in his apartment, eating himself to death. Desperate to reconnect with his long-estranged daughter, he reaches out to her, only to find a viciously sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen. Big-hearted and fiercely funny, The Whale tells the story of a man’s last chance at redemption, and of finding beauty in the most unexpected places
It’s worth taking this ultimately cheery description with a grain of salt, as it’s unclear as of yet how closely Aronofsky’s vision for the story will hew to Hunter’s play. Last year, Hunter called the process of adapting the story for the screen “a real labor of love” and said that the story is “deeply personal” to him. We do know that Fraser will play Charlie, the reclusive English teacher at the story’s center. Further plot details reported by Variety reveal that Charlie left his family for his late gay lover, and began compulsively eating out of grief.