National Geographic Documentary Films has greenlit a feature-length biopic on famed oceanographer Jacques Cousteau from two-time Academy Award-nominated and two-time Emmy-winning director Liz Garbus.
Cousteau (w/t) will provide a deep dive into the world-renowned ocean explorer’s life and his contributions to marine conservation through exclusive, never-before-seen 4K footage from the Cousteau Society’s archives.
The film will focus on the multi-faceted Cousteau and his conservationist efforts by offering humankind the resources to explore the ocean’s depths with the Aqua Lung, calling attention to the consequences of ocean pollution, and his long-time collaboration with the National Geographic Society. He would later found the American non-profit Cousteau Society, which produced environmentally-focused films and television series broadcast worldwide.
The greenlight marks the beginning of a first-look deal between National Geographic and the Cousteau Society.
Cousteau, which begins production this spring, will be produced by Garbus alongside Academy Award-winner Dan Cogan (Icarus). Academy Award winner Evan Hayes (Free Solo) will also produce under his ACE Content banner.
“Jacques Cousteau was a conservation pioneer whose advocacy to protect our oceans dovetails perfectly with National Geographic’s core values,” said Carolyn Bernstein, EVP of scripted content and documentary films for National Geographic, in a statement. “We are honored that the Cousteau Society has entrusted us with this treasure trove of personal footage. Together with Liz Garbus, Dan Cogan and Evan Hayes, we hope to create a fitting tribute to Cousteau’s legacy that will celebrate his life’s work and unparalleled contributions to oceanography.”
“As a little girl, I watched Jacques Cousteau in wonder and amazement every Sunday night,” added Garbus. “He brought cameras into a strange, wild and beautiful world few had ever seen, and nobody else had ever filmed before. He inspired me to dream and imagine my own unseen worlds. I want my children’s generation to get to know this transcendent figure, to dream their own dreams and to be inspired to love and preserve the natural world just as he was.”
The announcement from National Geographic Documentary Films comes on the heels of the success of Free Solo, which won both the Academy Award and the BAFTA for best documentary feature. In 2017, two films released under the Documentary Films banner, Jane and LA 92, made the Oscar shortlist for best documentary feature, and both won Emmys: LA 92 for special merit and Jane for best director and best cinematography.