Lupita Nyong’o admits, “It is hard to see nature at work” in the Discovery documentary series “Serengeti,” which she narrated. “It’s hard to be watching something and not be asked to take sides … In this, there’s no good guys or bad guys. There’s just guys trying to survive.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Nyong’o above.
“Serengeti” follows a variety of animals, from predators like lions and hyenas to potential prey like baboons and ostriches. And the series frames their stories in terms the human audience can relate to, as stories of unrequited love, sibling rivalry, parenthood, power struggles, sudden loss and more. Since we’re emotionally invested in animals on both ends of the food chain, “I was torn in many circumstances,” Nyong’o says. “What a wonderful dramatic tension to have to experience and then to arrive at acceptance of the course of life at the end of it.”
The actress has had a close relationship with the natural world all her life. “I grew up in Kenya, and so the Serengeti is right across the border,” she explains. “I’ve never been there, but I spent my youth going on safaris on school trips and with family and so on, so I’m very familiar with the safari experience … I’ve always had an affinity for nature, so for me this was like a dream I hadn’t even dreamed yet coming true.” It was especially meaningful to her to lend her voice to the documentary as an African woman: “It felt like an opening to be able to embrace and represent something I feel is my national heritage.”
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