Dr. M. Sanjayan showing his excitement for the Monkey Kingdom article in featured in USA Today.
Photo credit asmomseesit.com
This week while visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Resort and restaurant SANAA as part of the Monkey Kingdom Event, I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Dr. M. Sanjayan about his experience with the film MONKEY KINGDOM.
As a Disneynature Ambassador and conservation scientist, he was able to give us insight into the interesting and fun details about the upcoming film.
One of the first tidbits of information that Dr. M. Sanjayan shared with us, was that the Toque Macaque Monkeys of MONKEY KINGDOM have actually been studied for 40 years. This gave the filmmakers a great advantage of knowing a lot about the animals.
He also filled us in on a few filming details such as how from the very beginning the crew got lucky in their choice of Maya. Apparently she is quite the camera hog AKA a little monkey Diva. Also to complete the production of this feature, the crew filmed for 1003 days which yielded 88 minutes of film.
He was also asked who his favorite character of the film was, and with a little hesitation he did admit that it was Grandpa. Since this happened to be a very elderly monkey, I was interested to know how long these monkeys typically live. The answer is 20 -30 years, I definitely learned something new.
This also lead to a conversation about how Toque Macaques are social creatures like humans, (helping locate food and looking out for one another) which gives them a better chance at survival. However Dr. M. Sanjayan conveyed to us, that the main issue that does endanger the long term survival of these animals is the loss of habitat due to farming.
Just to give you a few more details about Dr. M. Sanjayan, he is a world traveler and host of “EARTH A New Wild,” the 2015 PBS television series. In addition, he is an accomplished writer that has been featured in Orion magazine, The Huffington Post, and Fortune China.
Fun Facts: This was not Sanjayan’s first encounter with Toque Macques. As a child in Sri Lanka, he actually had his birthday cake taken by a Monkey. In addition, seeing monkeys swimming under water during filming was something new for him and was one of his favorite parts of the film.
— Carlee C. (@athomemoma) April 15, 2015
Best quote of the day “Monkey Kingdom is like Downton Abbey meets Game of Thrones,”- Dr. M. Sanjayan
About Disneynature MONKEY KINGDOM:
Life is an adventure for Maya, the clever and resourceful blonde-bobbed monkey in “Monkey Kingdom,” Disneynature’s new feature film set among ancient ruins in the storied jungles of South Asia.
Maya’s world is forever changed when she welcomes her son, Kip, into her complicated extended family. Like all families, Maya’s has more than its share of colorful personalities—and she’s determined to give her son a leg up in the world.
When their longtime home at Castle Rock is taken over by powerful neighboring monkeys, Maya’s whole family retreats, and she uses her street smarts and ingenuity to uncover untapped resources amidst strange new creatures and unsettling surroundings.
Ultimately, they will all have to work together to reclaim Castle Rock, where Maya can hopefully realize her dreams for her son’s future.
MONKEY KINGDOM hits theaters April 17! See the film opening week (April 17-23) and Disneynature will make a donation in your honor to Conservation International to help protect monkeys and other endangered species in their natural habitats. Learn more at nature.disney.com/monkey-kingdom.
This truly was a great interview, and I am so excited about the conservation awareness and work that Disneynature and Dr. M. Sanjayan are completing.