Behind the Scenes with Disneynature’s Chimpanzee #MeetOscar #DisneyGlobalEvent

by Carrie with Children with 4 comments

By now I’m sure you know that I’m a huge fan of Disneynature’s latest movie, Chimpanzee.  It’s a beautiful film filled with breathtaking scenery and truly captures the essence of chimpanzees in the wild.

Last week, twenty bloggers and I attended the world premiere of the film and had the opportunity to sit down with the directors of Chimpanzee – Mark Linfield and Alastair Fothergill.  These gentlemen had some amazing stories to share with us.


On Filming Conditions

It was astonishing to learn that there were 700 days of filming spread out over the course of three years to make this film.  They were located in the Tai Forest in the Ivory Coast in West Africa.

“It was about a ten-hour drive on a pretty hairy metal road, and then a four-hour drive on a road that, in the rainy season, was a mud road, which was really quite challenging.  And then we had to walk for another two hours in the forest, and one of our fantastic team guys actually built a hut. ” – Director Alastair Fothergill

How They Choose Chimpanzees

It’s almost unbelievable how human-like the chimpanzees are in this film.  And while most see chimpanzees as cute, cuddly animals they actually quite dangerous. The directors said the film crew had to stay at least seven meters away, mainly for fear of transmitting diseases between themselves and the animals.

 I had made a TV documentary on chimpanzees 25 years ago, and I always felt they would they would make a fantastic subject for a big screen movie. You look into the eyes of chimpanzees….there is more meaning in that than in any other animal that I had ever experienced. ” – Director, Alastair Fothergill

Oscar’s Adoption

Without giving away too many spoilers, I’ll just say that the movie has a very sharp turn of events midway through the film.  So much so, that the directors thought they would have to stop filming for fear there was no longer a story to tell.  It’s incredible to hear the story in their words.

Scientists have been working with those chimpanzees for 30 years and never ever seen that happen.  And so for that to happen was fantastic for Oscar, but, my goodness, you know, if we’d written the script exactly as we’d wanted, we wouldn’t have, in our wildest dreams, have that happen, and it’s just such a lovely story.” – Director Alastair Fothergill

Chimpanzee Directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield

I have such a new found respect for the journey it takes to create a film…. especially one that is completely filmed in the jungle!  Kudos to Mr. Linfield and Mr. Fothergill for allowing us an inside look at Chimpanzee.  I’m now their biggest fan!


Chimpanzee swings into theaters TODAY, April 20th.

For every person that sees CHIMPANZEE on opening week, (April 20-27, 2012) Disneynature will make a donation to the Jane Goodall Institute through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund in order to protect chimpanzees and their habitats, now and into the future.

For the latest news on CHIMPANZEE, checkout Disneynature on Facebook and on Twitter at @Disneynature.


** Walt Disney Pictures, the Kissimmee CVB and Global Resort Homes is providing me with an all expenses paid trip to Central Florida for the red carpet premiere of Chimpanzee. Thoughts and opinions here are 100% my own and not influenced by others. **

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  • Melissa

    It was great to learn more about the making of Chimpanzee. I’m hoping they show more of the behind the scenes on the DVD. I liked how they showed a bit during the credits!

    • Carrie with Children

      Oh I hadn’t even thought about the DVD, but you are totally right! I hope they show some of that as bonus footage!

  • Emily

    I have been wondering about this movie. It’s amazing that they did so much video throughout all those days that they were able to make this movie. You wouldn’t think that “stories” like this happen in the wild in real-life!

    • Carrie with Children

      Isn’t it amazing, Emily?! I think the directors were surprised to find that these kinds of stories happen in the wild too! 🙂