‘Secrets of the Whales’ gets personal with ocean giants

“Secrets of the Whales” brings never-before seen footage of various whale species filmed across 24 global locations in a three-year span. The four-part Nat Geo docuseries narrated by Sigourney Weaver premieres Earth Day (April 22) on Disney+. (April 21)

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING]

JAMES CAMERON: I think that what this series strove to do was to make them-- to make them a who, not a what, to make them a person, not a creature, not an animal. Of course, they're animals. But I think what we learn from, you know, what we see-- including a lot of things that have never been recorded before-- is that they are people.

They have family bonds. They have clan bonds. They have language. They have music. They have love. They have grief. You know, they're very much like us.

SIGOURNEY WEAVER: Then, Brian puts down his camera to be in the moment.

It was Jim actually who, you know, let me know about these amazing four documentaries and asked me if I would narrate them. And I was delighted, because you know, it was-- frankly, I realized I knew so little, really, about whales, and really nothing under the surface.

BRIAN SKERRY: With this project, we had three years. We worked in 24 locations around the globe covering five different species of whales. But although that sounds like an ambitious amount of time, and it was, the reality is if you were to draw a Venn diagram of all the things that have to line up to get whale footage, the whales have to be there. The weather has to be good to get out in a boat. The whales have to let you close. And then if all of those things line up, the whales have to be doing something interesting.

And inevitably, things don't always go right. In Dominica, I did a five-week trip in 2018. And the first three weeks, we didn't see a whale. And you know, the scientist who's been there for 15 years says, well, this has never happened before. And that's not what you want to hear. But that being said, the shot list that we had, the things that we hoped to accomplish were achieved. And then we got so much more.