The title voice role of Tarzan in the 1999 American animated adventure musical film “Tarzan”, based on the story “Tarzan of the Apes” by author Edgar Rice Burroughs, proved more important than people might think being the first animated major motion picture version of the “Tarzan” story. It would end up leading to quite the casting and also have a bit of irony in who ran for hte role.
Believe it or not, actor Brendan Fraser auditioned twice to voice Tarzan. Ironically, Fraser would go on to play the character George in the 1997 American live-action film “George of the Jungle”, based off the cartoon of the same name. THe irony is the character of George from the cartoon was in turn inspired by, you guessed it, the character of Tarzan (Along with a cartoon characterization of bodybuilder George Eiferman that was drawn by a cook on his mine sweeper in the Navy during WW2).
Anyway, actor Tony Goldwyn auditioned for the title role as well, and according to co-director Kevin Lima, Goldwyn landed it because of, as Lima quoted, “the animal sense” in his readings, along with some “killer baboon imitations.” However, for the signature Tarzan yell, Lima and co-director Chris Buck desired the traditional yell and Goldwyn faced difficulties with providing the yell stating “It’s really hard to do, physically.” In the end, co-star Brian Blessed, who voiced the lead villain Clayton in the film, ultimately provided the yell.
So Fraser ended up getting to play a version of Tarzan after all (Third times a charm I suppose), a great voice actor was chosen for Tarzan in the film, and the traditional yell of the King of the Jungle was left intact. All’s well that ends well I suppose.