Brett Morgen – JANE
Brett Morgen is a successful filmmaker whose work includes documentaries on The Rolling Stones, Kurt Cobain and now the pioneering primatologist – Jane Goodall.
The new film “JANE” draws from over 100 hours of never before seen footage that has been in National Geographic’s archive for over 50 years.
Critics are calling it “one of the best documentaries of 2017”.
When the National Geographic Society decided to make a movie from their most precious footage they went straight to Oscar-nominated director Brett Morgen.
The brief seemed simple.
National Geographic wanted to use never-before-seen colour film of legendary primatologist Jane Goodall in the field during her groundbreaking 1960s chimpanzee study.
This lost archive captured Goodall, herself a past London Real guest, doing the work which would radically alter human understanding not just of ape society, but our own.
National Geographic wanted to make a movie that paid homage to a pioneer in her field.
But how did he do it?
Brett joins us to explain the story of how a project he thought would never get anywhere became a surprise hit and powerful testament to arguably the most influential Englishwoman of our times.
02:43 Brian’s thoughts on the episode.
05:49 Brian’s introduction.
06:16 Making documentaries about the lives of two totally different people.
11:31 Effect of combination of Hugo van Lawick’s filming whilst falling in love with Jane and her stunning looks.
14:27 Historical and cultural significance of Jane’s work was as profound as landing a ship on the moon.
19:22 Jane’s story is significant for children and parents in what it teaches and particularly to woman’s role today.
23:07 Why Brett thinks a man could not have done the work Jane did.
25:30 Brett shares his passion for the art of making documentaries when describing how he develops his ideas.
37:06 His totally intense immersive style of documentary.
40:29 Brett’s personality traits, a tsunami of emotions and abrasiveness, have underpinned his documentaries.
46:33 Success secrets.
47:06 Brett’s working relationship with the iconic National Geographic and why he wanted a different film title.
50:46 Gender and cultural reasons why Americans more than British seem always to have embraced Jane Goodall.
53:01 Jane Goodall continues to travel 300 days a year, dedicating her life to making this world a better place.
55:34 Dealing with being in the spotlight
56:30 Reflections on Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck and why it focussed a lot on Kurt’s childhood.
57:34 Incomparably harder to do documentary than fiction but a genre Brett loves and finds most satisfying to do.
1:01:53 The importance of a film score.
1:06:11 Advice to the young aspiring documentary film maker.
1:06:34 Brian’s summing up.
Brett Morgen website
Brett Morgen on Twitter
Brett Morgen on YouTube
Brett Morgen on Wikipedia
Kurt Cobain Montage of Heck (documentary film)
Jane (documentary film trailer)
Crossfire Hurricane (documentary film)
In the Shadow of Man by Jane Goodall (book)
Gombe Stream National Park
Garden of Eden
The Kid Stays in the Picture (documentary film)
Wonder Woman (film)
American Splendor (film)
Natural Born Killers (film)
Marvel’s Runaways (TV show)
The Beatles Lonely Hearts Club Band (special edition release)
People mentioned in this episode:
Hugo van Lawick