Julia Felsenthal in Vogue:
When Dr. Jane Goodall poses for a photo, she counts down, “1, 2, 3, chimpanzee!” When she has a drink, it’s often scotch, which has the added benefit of soothing her sore throat. Goodall is hoarse because she’s been talking a lot—most recently about Jane, the new documentary by Brett Morgen (Cobain: Montage of Heck) that focuses on her early years observing chimpanzees in Tanzania’s Gombe National Park; and more generally, about wildlife conservation and sustainable development and environmental awareness, the crusades of her past three decades, during which time she’s spent a reported average of 300 days per year on the road. Goodall, who founded the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI) in 1977 and became a U.N. Messenger of Peace in 2002, is currently a regal 83 years old. You can forgive her if her vocal chords are fatigued.
Hours after I meet her—in a room at the Soho Grand Hotel where she recently spent an afternoon receiving a spree of eager journalists—Goodall will fly home to England for five days; then to Osaka, Japan; then to Argentina. Why Japan? I don’t ask, but she tells me: She’s receiving the International Cosmos Prize, a prestigious science award. The crown prince of Japan may be there for the ceremony. That’s not the point. The point is that the prize comes with money, 40 million yen (roughly $350,000), money that can go toward the JGI’s many programs. Just a few moments into our interview, it becomes clear to me that basically everything Jane Goodall does is mission-driven. This film is no exception. “I agreed to do it because we’re doing so many projects in Africa. We have our youth program in a hundred countries around the world. And we need funding.”