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GORILLAS IN THE MIST
FROM : GORILLAS IN THE MIST, FEATURETTE, SPECIAL FEATURES
Dian Fossey (January 16, 1932 – December 27,
1985) was an American Zoologist who completed
an extended study of several gorilla groups. She
observed them daily for years in the mountain
forests of Rwanda, initially encouraged to work
there by famous paleontologist Louis Leakey.
Her work is somewhat similar to Jane Goodall's
work with chimpanzees.
1 Narrator : In the rainforests of Central Africa Universal and Warner Brothers Motion Pictures
2 joined forces to bring the remarkable story of an American hero to the screen. ‘Gorillas in the
3 Mist’ is the true story of Dian Fossey. Dian became famous as the saviour of the mountain
4 gorilla. She died in 1985. Sigourney Weaver won the powerful and coveted leading role of
5 Dian Fossey.
6 Sigourney : I don’t really think any film has to be made, but I really wanted to make this one.
7 It’s almost as if the people making this film wanted to complete something Dian was trying to
8 finish when she was murdered so that her death isn’t a complete waste. Obviously, it isn’t, but
9 I think the film will send out her beliefs, her passion, to more people.
10 Dian Fossey (1979) : Well, I’m not here to make friends. I came here, essentially, for research
11 and I don’t believe that you can close your eyes or close your mind to the problems of
12 conservation. It’s not talking about conservation. It’s acting.
13 Narrator : She defended them with fanatic zeal, acquiring a host of enemies who she opposed
14 in her war to save the last few mountain gorillas from extinction. (…) Before her death, Dian
15 began working with Universal Motion Pictures on her life story. Now, three years later,
16 Universal and Warner Brothers return to Rwanda to begin again. These hundreds of Rwandan
17 porters will create a human lifeline to keep the cameras rolling high in the cloud forest.
18 Months of delicate negotiating with the Rwandan government resulted in a permit to film in
19 the Parc des Volcans, the sanctuary of the world’s last 260 mountain gorillas. Director Michael
20 Apted selected his crew from around the world for fitness and their willingness to endure the
21 hardships. No prima donnas here. First unit cinematographer, Australian John Seale : ‘This
22 picture is being made totally on muscle power and leg power. At the moment we’re about
23 12,000 feet, heading for just under 13,000. They don’t allow us to bring helicopters to drop us
24 at the top. The only way to get there is to walk. So, we’re not doing too badly for our ages.’
25 Narrator : We arrive at our home away from home, a tent camp, a stone’s throw from the
26 Karisoke research station, Dian’s home for almost two decades and the place where she died.
27 Michael :The real story happened here. This is the land that Dian Fossey trod. So, when you
28 see us climbing mountains with porters carrying our equipment on their head it’s largely
29 because there are no roads, no transport, no nothing. But nonetheless, this is clearly where the
30 gorillas are and I decided from the beginning to take the movie to the gorillas.
31 Narrator : Taking it to the gorillas creates two dangers : The risk to the gorilla’s precarious
32 survival there, and the risk to Sigourney Weaver who must meet them face to face, just as
33 Dian did. Although the gorillas are normally gentle, they can be ferocious when challenged.
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Alfonse, Dian’s real-life tracker, attempts to teach Sigourney a few words of gorilla-ese. This
35 sound translates “I’m okay. You’re okay.”
36 Sigourney : We usually do this going down the trail.
37 Narrator : To eliminate any possible threat to the gorillas Michael Apted agreed to limit the
38 wildlife unit to six. Six; including, actors, where Hollywood typically operates with 100 or
40 Sigourney : I sat down and pretty soon this gorilla came right up to me. I tried to make friends
41 with her, in a way. She turned out to be Maggie, an 8-year-old who had known Dian.
42 Narrator : The filming begins.
43 Sigourney : I don’t think she recognized that I was playing Dian, but she became my friend
44 (…) and holding hands with a gorilla is one of the greatest thrills I can recommend. Maggie
45 had a great personality. She was a great ham and loved being photographed. (…) Silverback is
46 so big. It’s hard to imagine. (…) When I saw him coming toward me, it happened so fast, like
47 a big wave. (…) I just turned around and sat as still as I could and hoped that I hadn’t done
48 anything to really irritate him. (…) I also kept hoping that Simon would get the shot. I wasn’t
49 sure this would happen again.
50 Narrator ; It was all bluff. Scenes like this, filmed naturally in the wild, will tell the story of
51 Dian’s work.
52 Sigourney : My only regret is that except for Sembagare I have no-one to share this with.
53 Narrator :Bob Campbell filmed Dian in the early years and helped her save the gorillas.
54 Australian Bryan Brown plays Bob Campbell in the film.
55 Bryan : Well, I was petrified of the gorillas at first because they’re awfully big. There’s no
56 way you can’t be apprehensive and I didn’t want to be the first person where they went: “Gee,
57 it’s never happened before that someone’s been killed by a gorilla.” I didn’t want to be that
59 Sigourney : Most people love animals. It’s a very short step to loving the more exotic animals
60 and to realizing they’re equal citizens with us of the Earth. I think that’s what Dian was trying
61 to do with her work. So, I think in that sense it’s a worthwhile film. But it’s also a very
62 interesting story, against this fantastic country. It will take people to another place.
FOR MORE INFORMATION :
BIOGRAPHY : From : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dian_Fossey
SCRIPT : Subtitles DVD ‘Gorillas in the Mist’
THE DIAN FOSSEY GORILLA FUND : http://www.gorillafund.org/
GORILLA VIDEOS : http://www.gorillafund.org/gorilla_videos/#