National Geographic is partnering with Oscar-winning executive producer James Marsh (Man on Wire, Theory of Everything) and Endemol Shine Group’s Tigress Productions on a three-part miniseries to honor the life and legacy of gorilla researcher Dian Fossey. Sigourney Weaver, nominated for an Oscar and winner of the Golden Globe for her portrayal of Fossey in the 1988 film Gorillas in the Mist, will narrate. Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist is currently in production and will air globally on National Geographic in 171 countries and 45 languages in fall 2017.
The miniseries will tell Fossey’s life story from childhood and her early days researching in Congo, through to her arrival in Rwanda, where Fossey spent 18 years studying and protecting the mountain gorilla population. With exclusive access to Fossey’s belongings and personal effects, including objects from her cabin where she was slain, the series will explore Fossey’s murder and the investigation and trial of her research student Wayne McGuire, who was found guilty in absentia of her murder by the Rwandan courts. Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist will also join the Pablo troop of gorillas, including Cantsbee, whom Fossey named as a newborn. Just recently found to have rejoined his gorilla group, he is the oldest silverback gorilla on the mountain and the most prolific father in the area.
“Dian Fossey was a seminal figure of the 20th century, whose contribution to science had a profound impact on our understanding of primates,” said National Geographic President, Original Programming & Production Tim Pastore. “By revealing how her groundbreaking findings came about and why they had such an impact on the world, we are paying tribute to her life’s work. This series will be her definitive life story and a testament to her trail-blazing legacy.”
“I am delighted to be working with Nat Geo on a documentary about Dian Fossey’s trailblazing life and work with the Mountain Gorillas,” said Weaver. “This project promises to enrich our appreciation of Dian and these majestic primates and to raise awareness about the crucial conservation work of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.”
“Nat Geo championed Dian’s life and work when she was alive and built up an amazing visual archive of her vital work with the mountain gorillas of Rwanda,” said Marsh. “They are the ideal partners for a series that will both celebrate her achievements and investigate the events that led to her tragic demise. Without Dian’s efforts, there would be little or no population of gorillas left in Rwanda and by examining her life, we are also going to show the tremendous impact of her research into these majestic, unique animals.”
Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist is produced by Tigress, part of Endemol Shine Group, for National Geographic. For Tigress Productions, the executive producer is Dick Colthurst and showrunner is Sarah Peat.