Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle (1997)

Brendan Fraser Shares the Haunting Reality Behind His ‘George of the Jungle’ Body

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The first “episode” of this season’s Actors on Actors from Variety featured a reunion between Adam Sandler and Brendan Fraser, who previously starred in the 1994 cult comedy Airheads. In the episode, Fraser dropped some harsh truths about what it took to get the body that helped make him a ’90s icon.

George of the Jungle was my first Brendan Fraser movie. It is imprinted on my mind. The movie was based on the cartoon parody of Tarzan from the 1960s that only ran for 17 episodes, but in typical Hollywood fashion, why not just dust off an old property and see what happens? While Fraser had been in plenty of films before George of the Jungle, and though the film itself was poorly reviewed, it became a cult classic and made more than twice its budget at the box office. Fraser played the titular George—a himbo prototype in a loincloth who’s in love with Leslie Mann and torments Thomas Haden Church.

Segueing from a conversation about stunts, where Fraser brings up getting “smashed into trees for a living,” Sandler talks about how “jacked” his friend was in George of the Jungle.

“You weren’t supposed to do that to us,” Sandler joked.

Fraser teases back: “The wardrobe was that there was no wardrobe.”

“You did right by the character,” Sandler continues. “But you did wrong by us, man. You made us feel bad about ourselves. Were you oiled up at all during ‘George’?”

“I was waxed […] starved of carbohydrates,” Fraser said. “I would drive home after work and stop to get something to eat. I needed some cash one day, and I went to the ATM, and I could not remember my PIN number because my brain was misfiring. Banging on the thing. I didn’t eat that night.”

From Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables to Christian Bale in The Machinist, Hollywood loves to discuss body transformations and how actors eat or change their diets in order to become the character. But when you break down what it takes to make those changes, it can’t help but seem not worth it. Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, and Kumail Nanjiani have all spoken about having to maintain these inhuman bodies and the pressure it puts on them—especially Nanjiani, who tied it into ideas of toxic masculinity.

Weight control by studios has been a part of Hollywood from the jump and caused a series of health problems for many classic stars who used pills and other medications to maintain their figures (e.g., Judy Garland). We need to do better of not just celebrating all body types, but moving away from casually asking actors to lose and gain weight and celebrating them for every weight loss. Commenting on people’s bodies, especially in the public eye, does nothing but perpetuate stigmas. Hotness is different for everyone, so maybe it’s time we start finding new ways to celebrate people we find attractive besides asking them to dehydrate and not eat carbs?

(via: Variety, featured image: Disney)


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Princess Weekes
Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.