The 1990s were a big time for Disney movies, with hits like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Toy Story, Nightmare Before Christmas, The Rescuers Down Under, and Hocus Pocus being released during that time. There was also another movie that was released that wasn’t the studio’s biggest hit, but it has become a cult classic that people remember fondly — George of the Jungle, starring Brendan Fraser.
George of the Jungle took the classic tale of Tarzan — an animated version of which was also released by Disney in the 90s — and put a fun comedic twist on it. George of the Jungle also starred Leslie Mann as Ursula, Thomas Hayden Church as Lyle, and Holland Taylor as Beatrice. Fans loved the film so much that Disney wanted to make a sequel.
Unfortunately, Fraser, Mann, and Taylor did not return for the second film, so it was decidedly less successful than the first.
Fraser recently sat down for an interview with Entertainment Weekly and said that he was very interested in working with Disney on a George of the Jungle sequel. However, he admitted that things fell through when Disney didn’t want to pay him the salary that he was requesting.
“I think George got a remake, and they built a joke into it that the studio was too cheap to hire me, which wasn’t inaccurate. I was approached. I can’t remember what I was doing at the time, but I felt like I wanted to go do The Quiet American instead with Michael Caine, and shoot the first Western film in Vietnam ever, directed by Phillip Noyce, to tell an infinitely American story. I’m always making diverse choices, and, hopefully, that keeps me and an audience interested. With a bit of distance, I think they’ve all cumulatively led up to the place I’m in now.”
Recently, Fraser has been back in the spotlight for his role in the film, The Whale, which has many speculating that Fraser may be nominated for an Academy Award. During several interviews, Fraser has given more details on his George of the Jungle days, including the fact that his diet was so restrictive that his brain began to “misfire”.
Both George of the Jungle and George of the Jungle II are currently available to stream on Disney+. George of the Jungle II stars Christopher Showerman as George, Julie Benz as Ursula, Christina Pickles as Beatrice, and Angus T. Jones as George Jr. Thomas Hayden Church did return for the sequel to reprise his role as Lyle.