Brendan Fraser Recalls Starving Himself for 'George of the Jungle' So Much That His 'Brain Was Misfiring'

Brendan Fraser made comedy look effortless in George of the Jungle, but it was not easy to make. In a new interview with his Airheads co-star Adam Sandler for Variety, the actor recalled the difficulties of preparing to bring the cartoon character to life. Fraser said he starved himself to the point that his "brain was misfiring."

George of the Jungle hit theaters in 1997 and is based on the 1967 animated Tarzan spoof series of the same name. Fraser got muscular for the film, which required him to wear only a loincloth most of the time. Sandler told Fraser that he was so jacked and good-looking in the comedy that he was disappointed. "You weren't supposed to do that to us. You did right by the character. But you did wrong by us, man," Sandler joked. "You made us feel bad about ourselves. Were you oiled up at all during George?"

"I was waxed. Starved of carbohydrates," Fraser explained. "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 couldn't remember my PIN number because my brain was misfiring. Banging on the thing. I didn't eat that night."

George of the Jungle grossed over $170 million and is a vital part of Fraser's status as a 1990s movie icon. The film also starred Leslie Mann and Thomas Hayden-Church. Disney later produced a direct-to-video sequel without Fraser's involvement. Now we know why he would have turned the studio down even if they wanted him to star in George of the Jungle 2. Both movies are streaming on Disney+.

This was not the first time Fraser brought up George of the Jungle during his media blitz for The Whale. In October, Fraser apologized to San Francisco when The Whale screened at Mill Valley Film Festival. In George, Fraser's character was shown climbing up the Bay Bridge to rescue a parachuter, causing a real-life traffic jam.

"I have almost an apology to make. When we were doing 'George of the Jungle,' George goes to rescue a parachutist tangled in the Golden Gate Bridge," Fraser told SFGate, mistakingly referring to the Bay Bridge as the Golden Gate Bridge. "That means Disney put a mannequin hanging by a parachute from the uprights."

"It brought traffic to a standstill on either side of the bridge," Fraser continued. "My trailer was on the other side in a parking lot. I just remember watching the Golden Gate Bridge. There's this dummy parachutist hanging from it. I had the TV on, and Oprah got interrupted because there was a special news report with helicopters saying a parachute is dangling on the bridge. And I'm going – wait a minute, I'm looking at the helicopters and TV – somebody didn't pull a permit, somebody's going to get in trouble with the mayor's office. So I can only apologize for that."

Fraser's new movie is The Whale, which has earned him critical acclaim and put him in the running for the Best Actor Oscar. The film was directed by Darren Aronofsky and is an adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter's play about a reclusive English teacher hoping to reconnect with his daughter. Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Ty Simpkins also star. The Whale begins its limited theatrical run on Dec. 9.