Dr. Jane Goodall Interview: ‘Jane’ documentary
Dr. Jane Goodall admits she was skeptical when NatGeo pitched her a new documentary about her early years as a primatologist: “I said, ‘Come on, another movie about me and the chimps in those days? You’ve got to be joking.'” But the network assured her that the approach would be different from any film that had been made about her groundbreaking work. Now “Jane” is nominated for seven Emmy Awards, including Exceptional Merit in Documentary Filmmaking. Watch our exclusive video interview with Goodall above.
Directed by Oscar nominee Brett Morgen (“On the Ropes”), the film examines Goodall’s early research on chimpanzees. It explores her history using recently unearthed footage shot by Hugo van Lawick during her first visit to Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park in 1960. Although there have been several movies made about Goodall, this “is the only one that takes me back into the skin of a 26-year-old Jane.” The memories of her discoveries “came back very vividly.” But it was the recollections of her fellow scientists that affected her the most: “It was very moving and very nostalgic to be among them again.”
While reflecting on her past Goodall also looks towards the future of our planet. “It’s very dismaying,” she says of our current environmental policies. “This is why I spend so much of my time working with youth” through her program Roots & Shoots, which brings together students from pre-school through college to promote environmentalism, conservationism, and humanitarianism. “The main message of Roots & Shoots is that every single one of us makes some impact every single day,” she explains, “and even though it may seem a small choice to turn off lights, or what you eat, buy, or wear, when there’s billions of people making ethical choices, you start to see a better kind of world.”
“Jane” received additional nominations for Morgen’s writing, directing, and film editing, as well as for its cinematography, sound editing and sound mixing. It previously won the PGA Award for Best Documentary and the WGA prize for Best Documentary Writing.