Fraser rides whale

'Jungle' star swings to period pic on horror director

Brendan Fraser, who stars as the title character in Disney’s summer release “George of the Jungle,” will join Sir Ian McKellen, Lynn Redgrave and Lolita Davidovich in an as-yet-untitled period drama for Regent Entertainment.

Pic formerly was known as “Father of Frankenstein” and is based on Christopher Bram’s book about James Whale, the director of such films as the Boris Karloff-starrer “Frankenstein,” “Bride of Frankenstein” and the 1939 version of “The Man in the Iron Mask.” Bill Condon will write and direct the adaptation.

Regent’s Paul Colichman and Mark R. Harris will produce along with Gregg Feinberg. Clive Barker and Regent founder Stephen P. Jarchow will exec-produce, while Valorie Massalas will serve as co-exec producer.

The recently formed Regent Entertainment will finance and handle domestic distribution for the film, while Overseas Film Group is handling international sales.

Pic is set in the 1950s Hollywood, at the time Whale (McKellan) — who at one time had been Universal’s ace director — had left the industry and took up painting. Fraser will play the openly gay director’s gardener, an ex-Marine named Clay Boone. Boone becomes Whale’s muse during a series of portrait sessions that are darkly reminiscent of the creature Karloff portrayed in “Frankenstein.”

Whale drowned in his own swimming pool in 1957 under suspicious circumstances, however, it was later revealed his death had been a suicide.

Pic is scheduled to begin production this August in Vancouver.

In addition to his starring turn in “George of the Jungle,” Fraser can be seen currently in the indie “Still Breathing” opposite Joanna Going.

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