Paul Rudd will narrate National Geographic’s nextSecrets Of… series, Secrets of the Octopus. According to the release, it will “uncover the secret lives of one of the most alien-like animals on the planet.”
Fittingly, one of the executive producers of the series is Aliens and Avatar director (and former marine biology student) James Cameron.
And Cameron stressed that he does not find anything scary about the world under the sea.
“The only thing that freaks me out is some of the abominations that are happening with respect to the destruction of life, of species [like] shark finning and just ludicrous things that human beings are doing, using the ocean as a toilet,” he said, adding that “I’m not afraid when I get into a submersible. When I’m out on a ship, even if we’re in a big storm, I have a very healthy respect for nature, for the power and energy of water, and for water and atmospheric storm systems and so on. But none of that freaks me out. I’m drawn to it. I’m fascinated by it. The things that freak me out are human societal behavior and the story just gets worse every day you pick up the news or you read a science journal.”
With this series, Cameron said the focus isn’t necessarily about the use of new and flashy high-tech equipment like his films have been known to use.
(Photo by National Geographic for Disney/Craig Parry)
“It’s about creating a bond with individual animals of these different species and just observing them, then applying some science to it to interpret what you’re seeing,” Cameron said. “It didn’t require special cameras particularly. Some low light cameras, but that’s pretty much state-of-the-art these days. There are no massive technical breakthroughs here. It’s really just a revelation of what these animals do. Now, I’m not discounting how good these teams have to be, especially doing the very macro images of the eyes and the skins, the chromatophores, the tentacle behavior and so on. This is about acute observation.”
Cameron added that he partners with National Geographic a lot, including a project tied to his upcoming film, Avatar 3 that’s entitled The Science of Avatar and that he said “really gets into the outlandish things we’re showing, what the scientific bases for those are.”
“We’re looking for collaborations on future Avatar films as well that relate the real science, the real animal behavior, the real wonders of nature on Earth to what we see on Pandora,” he said.
Secrets of the Octopus premiere Apr. 21 on the cable channel and stream the next day on Hulu and Disney+.
The Real Finding Nemo?
There will be a second season of A Real Bug’s Life, the Disney+ documentary series from National Geographic that’s inspired by the animated film A Bug’s Life.
When asked if there might be more room for brand synergy since National Geographic became part of the Walt Disney Company during the 2019 Disney-Fox merger — like, say, a Disneyland or Walt Disney World ride — National Geographic president Courteney Monroe joked, “Maybe we can just rebrand [and make] The Real Ratatouille, because I’ve ridden that Ratatouille ride…”
“But we are thinking about a real Finding Nemo and other franchises,” she added. “There are so many families with young children on the Disney+ platform that would gravitate to the real-world storytelling around those franchises.”
Renewals and New Projects
Limitless with Chris Hemsworth gets a second season on National Geographic. (Photo by National Geographic for Disney+/Craig Parry)
National Geographic has given a second season order to Limitless with Chris Hemsworth. The series follows the Marvel star as he investigates ways to improve our lives. A pivotal moment from the first season involved a genetic test that showed Hemsworth has two copies of APOE e4, a gene that is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. His wife, Elsa Pataky, responded to his fears that he might get to a place where he doesn’t remember her or their kids by dressing in age makeup and surprising him on set.
Fellow Marvel star Anthony Mackie is taking over from Hemsworth as the host of National Geographic’s Shark Beach franchise. Shark Beach with Anthony Mackie will follow the actor as he “uncovers the delicate dance between humans, ecosystems and the sharks that serve as keystone species for our environments.”
Mission Specialist Sally Ride in 1983. (Photo by NASA/Johnson Space Center)
National Geographic is working on a documentary film about astronaut Sally Ride. Partnering with director Cristina Costantini, producer Dan Cogan, and producer Lauren Cioffi, the upcoming feature doc has the working title of Sally and, according to the press release, “will explore the space pioneer through never-before-seen archival footage and commentary from fellow trailblazers Billie Jean King, Kathy Sullivan, Anna Lee Fisher and [Ride’s] life partner Tam O’Shaughnessy.”
National Geographic has an upcoming true crime miniseries entitled Pathological: Chasing a True Crime Con Man. It’s based on the New Yorker profile of Stéphane Bourgoin, someone who became a true-crime expert by selling the false story that he was a widower whose first wife was murdered.
UTD Laksh performs on stage at Legends. (Photo by Meralta Films/Rafael Roy)
Move over, Netflix’s Cheer. National Geographic is working with executive producer/director Smriti Mundhra (Indian Matchmaking) and executive producer Joe Lewis (100-Foot Wave) on a Bollywood dance competition docu-series. Tentatively titled Legends, the six-episode first season will follow two squads of Bollywood fusion dancers as they compete for the national title.”This series is my ode to young adulthood, a universal coming-of-age story told uniquely through the South Asian lens,” said Mundhra. “It is the story of first-generation college students tasting freedom and chasing a glory that could transform their lives forever. I’m so honored to have the opportunity to introduce this vibrant world to Nat Geo’s global audiences and hope it inspires others the way it has lit a fire for me.”