Disneynature takes moviegoers deep into the forests of Africa with “Chimpanzee,” a new True Life Adventure introducing an adorable young chimpanzee named Oscar and his entertaining approach to life in a remarkable story of family bonds and individual triumph. Oscar’s playful curiosity and zest for discovery showcase the intelligence and ingenuity of some of the most extraordinary personalities in the animal kingdom. Working together, Oscar’s chimpanzee family—including his mom, Isha, and the group’s savvy leader, Freddy — navigates the complex territory of the forest.
The world is a playground for little Oscar and his fellow young chimpanzees, who’d rather make mayhem than join their parents for an afternoon nap. But when Oscar’s family is confronted by a rival band of chimpanzees, he is left to fend for himself until a surprising ally steps in and changes his life forever. Directed by Alastair Fothergill (“African Cats” and “Earth”) and Mark Linfield (“Earth”), and narrated by Tim Allen (ABC’s “Last Man Standing”), “Chimpanzee” swings into theaters on April 20, 2012, just in time for Earth Day.
Are you planning to make the next DisneyNature film Chimpanzee part of your Earth Day celebrations? It turns out the production involved more than just sending one guy with a camera out into the forest to film some wild animals. They sent a whole crew and boy did they have fun. Find ‘Fun Facts’ about the movie below the jump:
ALL IN A DAY’S WORK
LUCKY NUMBER 700 — More than 700 days of filming was required to make “Chimpanzee.”
KILLER COMMUTE — Getting to the Tai Forest took two days, including a 14-hour drive along bumpy dirt roads where the car would frequently break down miles away from the nearest village. The crew then carried all the equipment on an hour-long walk to camp.
HEADACHE — To build the film crew’s camp, the crew carried into the forest on their heads:
2.5 tons of cement
7 tons of wood
400 sheets of roofing tin
4 truckloads of sand
4 truckloads of gravel
6 water tanks
4 beds and mattresses
FEED ME — The team needed 550 pounds of food, which had to last for three months in the forest.
CLOSE ENCOUNTER — On a trip to Tai village for supplies, Field Logistics Manager Ed Anderson got the vehicle stuck in the mud. He left the vehicle to run back to camp, and on the way encountered a leopard on his path just a few yards away from him. Fortunately, the leopard turned and disappeared into the forest.
HEAVY LOAD — On a typical shooting day, each member of the team carried 40 pounds of gear, consisting of:
Several water bottles
Notebook and pen
Head nets to protect from bee attacks
Antihistamines and adrenaline in case of bee attack
Noodles and sardines for lunch
Surgical face masks
THAT’S HOT — The crew had to trek through the jungle in temperatures as high as 86 degrees Fahrenheit with almost 100 percent humidity – it was like exercising in a sauna.
MILES AND MILES — During each day of shooting, the team found the chimpanzees as far as three miles away from the camp and followed them for as many as six miles per day, trekking another three miles back to camp—that’s 12 miles on foot in a given day.
WATCH YOUR STEP — The crew wore two pair of socks to prevent blisters during the long days of trekking.
THESE BOOTS AREN’T MADE FOR WALKING — Crew members wore rubber boots that weren’t particularly comfortable during long walks, but they protected their feet from getting wet and developing foot rot. The boots also protected the crew’s feet from snake bites.
THAT’S DEDICATION – While footage of the chimpanzees eating from a bees nest and fishing for ants provided incredible sequences in the film, actually getting the footage involved being stung by bees and bitten by ants.
WHAT?! — The forest is extremely loud, which made sound recording particularly difficult. Birds and insects call so loudly that it is hard to isolate the chimpanzees’ calls.
DO NO HARM — Before going near the chimpanzees, the crew had to spend eight days in quarantine (five days in the forest camp, three in the capital Abidjan), to ensure they did not bring diseases into the forest that could be transmitted to the chimpanzees. This is why filmmakers wore masks.
BACK OFF — The crew had to stay at least 23 feet away from the chimpanzees. If a chimpanzee looked at them, it meant they were too close.
BIG SHOTS — The filmmakers had to be vaccinated for measles, meningitis, yellow fever and poliomyelitis, and take anti-worming tablets before entering the forest.
HOME SWEET HOME
ALL WET — The team had to take a cold shower every morning, but the forest was so hot and humid that is was actually quite refreshing. Unfortunately, the humidity also meant that the crew’s towels would never dry.
RUDE AWAKENING — One night, crew members awoke to millions of driver ants marching through the camp, covering their beds. They stopped the ants by pouring generator fuel around the camp; the smell of the fuel deterred the ants from camp.
SERIOUSLY? — On a trip to a viewpoint to film forest scenics, team members were attacked by swarms of bees, each sustaining some 50 bee stings. That night, the tree next to their tents was struck by lightning, which then traveled underground and electrocuted the team (they were OK).