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George's Dog Scene In George Of The Jungle Proved To Be A CGI Challenge

If you've spent any amount of time online in the past year or so, chances are you've seen an outpouring of love and appreciation for Brendan Fraser. The actor has enjoyed something of a career renaissance (or Brendanaissance, if you will) as of late after spending some time away from the Hollywood spotlight, and those who have adored him for years have come out in full force to remind him of their support. This has included not only supporting his latest endeavors, but taking a look back at those that made him famous decades ago, such as 1997's "George of the Jungle."

While it's far from Fraser's most monetarily successful or critically acclaimed feature, "George of the Jungle" maintains a cult following years after its theatrical run. The chief reason for this is Fraser's lively performance as the titular George: a man who was raised by animals in an African jungle who's absolutely dumbfounded when Ursula Stanhope (Leslie Mann) brings him into the urban jungle that is San Francisco, California. All in all, it's an enjoyable film with loads of laughs and goofy visuals to go around, but as it turns out, making it wasn't all fun and games for those involved.

For instance, bringing George's "dog" to life — an elephant named Shep — in CGI was nothing short of a challenge for the talented folks tasked with making the character a reality.

Fraser had to be meticulous with his movements in Shep's introduction scene

As Brendan Fraser prepares to add another noteworthy installment to his filmography in director Darren Aronofsky's "The Whale" — a film about an obese man named Charlie who struggles to reconnect with his family and take control of his life once again — he's taken some time to look back on his cinematic journey so far. In an interview with GQ, he broke down some of his most iconic roles, including that of George in "George of the Jungle." While discussing his experience on the 1997 family comedy, he touched on the difficulties the elephant Shep presented for both himself and the CGI team.

"The shot was designed to have Shep framed up with George, and then George introduces his 'dog' to Ursula," Fraser recalls of Shep's introduction scene. On paper, this doesn't sound like a difficult shot to get, but in reality, it was far more tedious than one might imagine. As he explains, he had to be very specific about how he interacted with Shep and where he'd pet him. If his arm was too high or too low, it would throw off the CGI team and how they planned to animate the animal, as well as the movie's overall budget. So, the crew made sure to micromanage this entire sequence and give Fraser very specific instructions.

The CGI for Shep may look a bit dated by modern standards, but for the era, it was a work of absolute movie magic. It may have been a challenge to get just right during the "George of the Jungle" shoot, but the final product more than made up for it.