National Geographic has set a December premiere date for its three-part global miniseries Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist which offers an intimate portrait of the life and times of the primatologist decades after her violent murder.
Produced by Tigress Productions – part of Endemol Shine Group – the project, a realscreen MIPCOM Pick for this year, follows Fossey from her childhood in the United States to Africa in December 1966, where she began her gorilla studies soon after arriving on the continent’s shores. While in the central African nation of Rwanda, she fell in love with the species, dedicating her life to its survival. Her fight against encroaching gorilla poachers most likely cost Fossey her life in 1985, although the case of her murder has not yet been definitively solved.
The series looks at the investigation around her murder and the subsequent trial of gorilla researcher and doctoral student Wayne McGuire who was found guilty in absentia by Rwandan courts. McGuire gives a rare interview about his claims of innocence which, combined with exclusive access to Fossey’s belongings and personal effects, including objects from the scene of her murder, are given new credence.
Secrets in the Mist is filled with Fossey’s own observations culled from her writings and brought to life by actress Sigourney Weaver, who won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Fossey in the 1988 film Gorillas in the Mist. The program includes exclusive access to rare and unseen footage of Fossey as she conducted her up-close studies of gorillas. Also on tap are in-depth interviews with her close colleagues and friends, including McGuire and friend Sir David Attenborough.
The miniseries also checks in on Fossey’s legacy, featuring footage of the Pablo troop of gorillas, descendants of the very gorillas she studied. Her work in protecting Rwanda’s mountain gorilla population ensured its survival during the worst years of poaching and threats to its habitat.
Film director, producer and writer James Marsh (Man on Wire, The Theory of Everything) serves as executive producer on the miniseries. For Tigress Productions, the director is Zara Hayes and executive producer is Dick Colthurst.
Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist premieres on Nat Geo Dec. 6, at 9 p.m. ET/PT.