The documentary series Prehistoric Planet, which is available on Apple TV +, travels 66 million years back and provides new insight into dinosaurs thanks to the latest research results and amazing special effects.
This series, Prehistoric Planet, will take viewers 66 million years back to rediscover our world and the dinosaurs that inhabited it, with breathtaking precision, accompanied by original music by Hans Zimmer.
Meet the paleontologist who served as chief consultant on the series, Dr. Darren Naish, and showrunners Mike Gunton and Tim Walker.
AlloCiné: How did you create this series, and why did you turn to Jon Favreau to help you produce it?
Mike Gunton: It all started in Africa ten years ago when I recorded a series with Sir David Attenborough. He was in ecstasy before these amazing images of wildlife and vast expanses. For him, it was the biggest show on the planet. But I wondered if there was not even more to shoot, and that was when I said to myself that we could make a series of dinosaurs more real than life, but in this real environment, these magical landscapes, like Africa can offer.
The combination of state-of-the-art computer graphics and the grandeur of nature could only yield a breathtaking result. Here is the result, the first show that took place about 66 million years ago, but recorded in natural surroundings and in XXI.th century. I met Jon Favreau 2 or 3 years ago at one of Apple’s offices. From our first discussion, we realized that this association to create prehistoric planet was blessed by the gods.
Of course, Covid did not help with this recording. But luckily, the bulk of the work was creating the dinosaurs digitally. That said, it was a headache to record the different sets of this series on the spot and around the world, especially since we have so many and different environments, from a forest to a desert to a glacier landscape and so on.
Tim Walker: I was completely captivated by this project when I heard about the union of all these geniuses who are Mike Gunton, Jon Favreau and Apple. We could not go wrong with such a dream team. Dr. Naish was crucial in making sure the dinosaurs we were going to create were as realistic as possible. But we have also embarked on this adventure other specialists such as a zoologist and a climatologist.
Jon’s expertise, which had worked on The Lion King and The Jungle Book, proved to be crucial to having a perfect mastery of the creation in computer graphics of the various dinosaurs you will encounter. It really is as if we had managed to travel back in time with an extraordinary machine and put our camera right in the middle of these majestic creatures.
We did a lot of filming realistically. For example, if you were face to face with a T-Rex, you would not have had the opportunity to film it up close. So we were able to keep our distance depending on the dinosaur we were filming.
Dr. Darren Naish: I think the timing is perfect for this series because never before have so many new species of dinosaurs been discovered as right now. We discover a new specimen of dinosaurs every week and it is truly amazing. That’s about 50 new dinosaurs by the end of the year.
Thanks to new techniques, we can also better understand the behavior that these dinosaurs had in addition to their physical appearance. It makes the age of the dinosaurs so much closer to us. This series really presents a new take on the time and these creatures. And especially with new species of dinosaurs that you have never seen before since they were just discovered.
Why are we so fascinated by the age of dinosaurs?
Dr. Darren Naish: Because they are the most impressive creatures, physically, by their morphology, their unique appearance. It really makes us travel to another planet to observe them. I also think it’s because of the fear they inspire. Imagine the head of a T-Rex the size of an average man, imagine the strength that comes with it.
I am right now fascinated by a dinosaur with a duck face with a long neck that is part of the hadrosaur family like amurosaurus or angulomastacators or lavocatisaurus. I can not stop wondering every time we make a new discovery. I think this series is the most realistic to introduce you to the world of dinosaurs.
I also hope this series will show you the fragility of the world we live in and how we might one day disappear like these creatures. We must therefore become aware of this and do everything we can to maintain order in our environments.
Tim Walker: I was part of the expedition that ended with uncovering the creatures that Dr. Naish mentioned in Mongolia and I am also blown away by these dinosaurs. But the one that fascinates me the most and is the public favorite is the T-Rex. I think you will discover a new, more realistic vision of the T-Rex. It will surprise you. I hope our series will pique the curiosity of the young new generation to introduce them to an amazing and magical world.
Mike Gunton: Dinosaurs are the coolest creatures in the eyes of children. I also believe that the mystery of their existence, and why they disappeared, makes their myth even more fascinating. Because nothing is really clear in this area and the true history of the dinosaurs remains to be discovered. We try to answer some of the questions we still have in this series.
In the end, I hope that with this series we will show you that dinosaurs are not monsters, but just amazing creatures that occupied our planet before our arrival. We almost tried to humanize them. If the series works with the public, we may come back with a new season because there are so many dinosaurs to show you.