The work of legendary gorilla scientist Dian Fossey will be brought back to life in a new three-part documentary series for National Geographic television, now in production. Scheduled to air this fall, the series will feature narration by actress Sigourney Weaver, who played Dian Fossey in the 1988 movie “Gorillas in the Mist,” based on Fossey’s book.
“I had the amazing experience of portraying Dian Fossey in ‘Gorillas in the Mist,’ spending months with the majestic mountain gorillas,” says Weaver, who also serves as the honorary chair of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.
“In the 50 years since Dian founded the Karisoke Research Center, scientists have safeguarded the gorillas and increased awareness about conservation all around the world. I am honored to be working with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and National Geographic on what promises to be a remarkable documentary of Dian’s courageous life and legacy.”
Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund President and CEO/Chief Scientist, Dr. Tara Stoinski, says there couldn’t be a better time to re-tell the story of Fossey’s work, which has since been greatly expanded and has helped the critically endangered mountain gorilla population to grow and stabilize.
“The Fossey Fund has not only carried on the important gorilla protection and scientific research that Fossey started, but has expanded it to include helping local communities, building the next generation of conservationists in Africa, and helping other gorilla species in danger of extinction,” says Dr. Stoinski.
“The National Geographic special will be a definitive biography of Fossey’s work, life, death and legacy, and will include never-before-seen footage from both National Geographic and Fossey Fund archives, a fitting endeavor for this 50th anniversary of her work,” adds Dr. Stoinski
In addition, the series, titled “Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist,” will include footage shot recently of the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and with Fossey Fund field staff. Tigress Productions, the company producing the series, is filming an historic group of gorillas who were among the first studied by Dian Fossey. Originally named Group 5, the group split in 1995, with one of the offshoots being the modern day Pablo’s group. Pablo’s group’s most famous member is elderly silverback Cantsbee – the last of the silverbacks first seen and named by Dian Fossey and then monitored throughout his 38 years. Amazingly, Cantsbee suddenly reappeared on Jan. 4, after being missing for months and presumed dead, adding yet another chapter to the amazing story of these gorillas and Fossey’s legacy.
Tigress Productions also produced the 2007 documentary on silverback Titus, which aired on PBS “Nature” in 2008.
“Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist” is also being produced in partnership with Academy-Award-winning executive producer James Marsh. It will air globally in 171 countries and in 45 languages this fall.