By Samantha Ofole-Prince
Morgan Freeman doesn’t have a fascination for animals. At least --“Not anymore developed than anybody who has a pet,” says the iconic actor.
The Oscar®-winning actor, who lends his familiar baritone to the nature documentary “Born to be Wild,” a film about saving endangered species, is extremely passionate about preserving the planet.
“I get lots of calls to do narrations and once in a while, a project comes along that resonates and when that happens, you go with it,” he says.
A visually immersive documentary, “Born to be Wild” is about two women from different continents, united by one mission -- saving endangered species, one life at a time
Directed by David Lickley, written and produced by Drew Fellman, the idea for the film began germinating 17 years ago when Fellman took a backpacking trip through Southeast Asia. He visited the Tanjung Puting National Park in central Borneo, where Dr. Biruté Mary Galdikas had been raising orphaned orangutans. Fellman was later showed a piece from “60 Minutes” about another inspiring woman, Dame Daphne M. Sheldrick, and the orphaned wild elephants her foundation raises in Kenya.
Both stories struck an emotional chord for Fellman and he knew that the stories of these two women and the animals to which they have devoted their lives would make an incredible film.
“They are heroes of the earth in the truest sense,” he states. “And this movie is a story about two great ladies who have made it their life’s work to save these orphans.”
Stunningly captured in IMAX® 3D, by cinematographer David Douglas, it follows primatologist Galdikas and Sheldrick, as they rescue, rehabilitate and return elephants and orangutans back to the wild.
With his authoritative voice, Freeman, who won an Academy Award® for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Clint Eastwood’s “Million Dollar Baby,” was the perfect choice for Fellman and Lickley to narrate the film.
“We asked him if he could do it,” affirms Fellman. “He cares very deeply about environmental issues and wanted to get involved once we asked.”
For Freeman, who lent his voice to the Oscar®-winning documentary “March of the Penguins,” the idea of getting involved in an extremely worthwhile project struck a chord.
“I think everything about this film is outstanding,” says Freeman. “It highlights a couple of ladies, whose courage and dedication really should be trumpeted. It also brings to light, the necessity of preservation of other forms of life and their habitat. We are not aware that as people, we are eliminating habitats and killing off other creatures in other for us to have more room, to grow more food, for more of us. If we continue the way we are going eliminating habitat and other forms of life, we are going to be eliminating ourselves.”