May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

“I’ve never understood what that word ‘hunk’ means,” claims 29-year-old Brendan Fraser. Okay, Brendan, we’ll look it up for you. Webster’s definition is “an attractive, well-built man.” And that would describe you in your loincloth in last year’s George of the Jungle.

With a body achieved through six months of “an almost ritualistic” high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet and pumping iron daily, Fraser had women ready and willing to give up civilization. But now the frame has changed. Maintaining that superbod “would be too much work, too much discipline,” Fraser says. “I’m on to another project, another look.” This one is no less satisfying: He has cut and moussed his soft brown hair and is settling back into his slender 6’3″ figure. The relaxed demeanor comes courtesy of deep-tissue massages in Los Angeles’s Koreatown. “They sit on you and use their elbows and knees,” he says. “It’s revitalizing.”

Besides, there’s more to the man than muscle. “A lot of handsome guys don’t have that naive sweetness about them,” says Alicia Silverstone, Fraser’s costar in next winter’s romantic comedy Blast from the Past. “They’re sexy, but they don’t have Brendan’s wide-eyed innocence.” Perhaps that’s what makes this hunk so appealing to the 6-year-olds who flocked to George—then buried him in crayon-written fan mail. “There’s not enough room on my fridge for all those cute pictures,” he confesses.

How do we break it to schoolgirls that their George, George, George of the jungle has already found true love? When he proposed to actress Afton Smith (she appeared in George and Reality Bites) in Paris last fall, “it was cold, and we had on dark turtlenecks and long French coats,” he recalls. “We were so far removed from the pressures of being conscious about our appearances. It was just being in love that made us beautiful.”

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