National Geographic is teaming up with Oscar-winning executive producer James Marsh and Tigress Productions on a three-part docuseries exploring the life and death of famed gorilla researcher Dian Fossey.
Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist tells the story of Fossey, from her childhood to her research days in the Congo and Rwanda, where she spent 18 years studying and protecting the mountain gorilla population.
The series uses more than 40 hours of archival footage, still photos, letters and personal correspondence spans Fossey’s contributions, with collaboration with the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund and interviews with friends and colleagues to highlight her findings and observations. It also explores her murder in 1985 at the age of 53, offering exclusive access to Fossey’s belongings from the cabin where she was slain, and the investigation and trial of her research student Wayne McGuire, who was found guilty in absentia of her murder by the Rwandan courts. McGuire fled to the U.S. to escape charges.
The series will also join the Pablo troop of gorillas, including Cantsbee, a silverback gorilla Fossey named as a newborn.
Sigourney Weaver, who played Fossey in the 1988 Oscar-nominated drama Gorillas in the Mist, will narrate the series. It’s set to bow globally on National Geographic in the fall of 2017.
“Dian Fossey was a seminal figure of the 20th century, whose contribution to science had a profound impact on our understanding of primates,” said Tim Pastore, National Geographic president of original programming and production, in a statement. “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.”
Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist is produced by factual production company Tigress, part of Endemol Shine Group, for National Geographic. For Tigress Productions, the executive producer is Dick Colthurst and showrunner is Sarah Peat.
Upcoming and recent credits for Tigress include Birds of Paradise: The Ultimate Quest for BBC2, Marooned With Ed Stafford for Discovery and the award-winning Hippo: Nature’s Wild Feast for Channel 4.