Jane Goodall Reflects On A Lifelong Mission To Save The Planet, And She’s Far From Finished

By Amy Kaufman
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) A major focus of “Jane”, which will be shown next year on National Geographic’s cable channel, is Goodall’s relationship with nature photographer Hugo van Lawick. Two years after she arrived in Gombe, Van Lawick was sent by the magazine to photograph Goodall’s work with the chimps; it’s his footage that filmmaker Brett Morgen pulled from to make the new movie.

Los Angeles Times

“So,” Brett Morgen began, “you’ve been telling your story for so many years. Do you get tired of answering the same questions?”

Jane Goodall stared back at the filmmaker, her expression unmoving.

“Depends on who’s asking the questions,” she replied.

There was no “wink-wink, nudge-nudge, ha-ha!” to her inflection, Morgen recalls now. “It was just cold.”

After all, the primatologist had not wished to be interviewed for Morgen’s documentary, period. Sure, it was a film about her life, called “Jane,” even, culled from 140 hours of footage that had been hidden for more than 50 years in National Geographic’s archives. But she’d already done so many interviews over the course of her 83 years. Couldn’t the filmmaker just repurpose one of those?

As politely as he could, Morgen relayed that there was no way that was going to happen. So, at the urging of her colleagues at the Jane Goodall Institute, “we need the exposure,” they said, she agreed to participate. She was told she would have to sit for only one filming session, which would last no more than three hours.

She ended up spending two full days with Morgen at her home in Tanzania.

“I guess Brett’s quite persuasive,” Goodall said with a shrug.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and Goodall had just come from the Toronto International Film Festival premiere of “Jane.” Her hair was swept back into the same low-slung ponytail she wore during her days in Gombe, the secluded area of Africa where she began studying chimpanzees in 1960 at age 26.

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