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Spy in the Wild | Q & A with Spy Creatures and Creators


NATURE’s Executive Producer Fred Kaufman and Director John Downer discuss the making of SPY IN THE WILD

(uplifting bass guitar music) (orangutan roars) - Spy in the Wild is the most innovative, natural history wildlife film we've ever done.

Over 30 robotic animals, each outfitted with cameras.

The lenses are usually in the their eyes.

- Every animal that we looked at, we had to create a new spy creature.

And we had to think about what's the best spy creature to use.

Sometimes, like with the orangutan, it was a member of the same species.

(elephant trumpets) But we filmed elephants.

We filmed amazing scenes with elephants, but it wasn't practical to build a full-scale elephant.

So we used a spy egret.

(bird squawks) Egrets go around among the feet of elephants, and they don't get squashed, so he seemed to be the perfect choice.

- This was a three year project, designing the anitronics, and building them.

The orang alone took three months to build.

- He's a spy orang, and he went to Borneo.

Looking at some extraordinary behavior there among wild orangutans.

In one incredible scene, he ends up trying to saw a piece of wood at the same time as a real, wild orangutan is doing the same.

And they had a sawing competition. (laughs) (orangutan grunts) - You can see that thinking and that movement and that exploring and getting close.

And which animal among the group is the courageous one to actually go the furthest to really investigate.

And that's what I find fascinating about all of this.

- The whole point of what we were trying to do is to get closer to animals than ever before.

And to capture those elusive moments when they start to reveal the emotions that we have.

And every time, we picked on a new subject, we would unravel new things, which was extraordinarily exciting because we never knew quite what we were gonna find.


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