Brendan Fraser Recalls Working With ‘Disney Monkey’ On George Of The Jungle, And It Sounds Like A Lot
Many stars in Hollywood have those co-stars they would never work with again. Oftentimes, it’s a human actor but, in Brendan Fraser’s case, it was an animal. His time shooting with one animal co-star on the 1997 comedy George of the Jungle wasn’t the best experience, according to the Crash star. The Oscar-nominated actor, who's been opening up about his past work amid the Brenaissance, recalled working with a Disney monkey, which sounds like a lot.
The subject came up when Deadline spoke to the Mummy star when he received the American Rivera Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. During the conversation, it was noted that the Oscar nominee has starred in several movies featuring CGI or real animals. When that topic came up, Brendan Fraser spilled on what happened between him and his furry colleague. The leading man tried to retain some decorum as he explained the changes that his co-star, Mr. Binks, was experiencing while filming the George of the Jungle adaptation:
There were real monkeys on [George of the Jungle], Mr. Binks was real. He was a very naughty, little monkey. … Mr. Binks was a boy monkey, Mr. Binks was a Disney monkey. Boy Disney monkeys don’t show their boyness in a Disney film. So Mr. Binks had a little bikini, little fur bikini, and the thing about apes, monkeys in particular, they become teenagers at some point, and they age out, and they become incorrigible and they bite and scratch – and that’s nasty and scary. And he was just on the cusp that week, where he found himself, and he had just enough attitude that he got a little bit overconfident about acting, and he would get frustrated when he didn’t get his take the way he wanted it. He was trained to whisper in my ear, he stuck his tongue so far into my eardrum, and I was like, ‘Come on, ew.’
There’s nothing like having a cranky co-star who doesn’t respect your boundaries. I'm exhausted just hearing the star recount this story and can't even imagine what it was like to actually live it. In fairness though, Mr. Binks was an animal and had animalistic urges. You add the confusing shift of puberty into the mix, and things were bound to get out of hand. However, the tongue in the actor's ear was only the beginning of the on-set pandemonium. Things got worse as the Hollywood veteran recalled the monkey having a horrific on-set meltdown:
And he got mad, rips off his fur bikini – wait for it – disappears into the rafters, starts tearing apart the set deck. There’s flowers and all kinds of crap flying around the place. And yeah, he was, he was having a monkey moment. And the trainer came out and was like, ‘Stop that right now, Mr. Binks! No, no!’ I was killing myself laughing. Never work with animals.
Looks like fans won’t be getting a Brendan Fraser-led follow-up to George of the Jungle anytime soon. While Fraser found the moment hilarious at the time, it also sounded quite scary and anxiety-inducing. Kudos to Mr. Binks’ trainer for trying to control the situation, but there are few things you can do when a primate (especially a teenage one) has a moment. Ultimately though, the experience left a bad taste in the The Whale star’s mouth (along with his memory loss caused by his strict diet).
Thankfully, actor has other co-stars who care for him and are celebrating his current Hollywood resurgence. His The Air I Breathe co-star Sarah Michelle Gellar honored him at SBFF. Meanwhile, his Mummy Returns co-star, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, has championed the star’s Best Actor run toward Oscar gold. Even fellow Oscar nominee and comeback king Ke Huy Quan has spoken on their continued friendship after filming the cult classic Encino Man. The two actors have even praised each other’s Oscar-nominated performances. The School Ties star has really paid his dues and deserves the flowers he's getting, and the fact that he worked through the Mr. Binks situation only makes one respect him more.
See how Brendan Fraser and other 2023 Oscar nominees fare when the 95th Academy Awards air on March 12 at 8 pm EST on ABC. Those who are feeling nostalgic can also stream George of the Jungle using a Disney+ subscription.