Disney+ - all six eps available from Mon 4 Jul
From the mountainous northwest, the steamy south, the arid west and the endless heartland, North America has it all. And this stunning series takes us through its most spectacular regions, using ground-breaking techniques to capture not only the behaviour of animals, but also extraordinary weather conditions and striking scenery.
‘You’ve effectively got the planet in one continent,’ says Vanessa Berlowitz, executive producer and co-founder of production company Wildstar Films. ‘There are polar regions, swamps and tropical forests, and an incredible diversity of animals.
‘For the opening sequence of a red squirrel taking on a bear, we pioneered remote photography, where we allowed the animals to film themselves by triggering arrays of cameras.
‘Someone said it was as if Disney had storyboarded that scene because it was just like Ice Age.’
Vanessa, who worked for the BBC’s Natural History Unit for 25 years, even discovered new information while making this series.
‘We were surprised to find caterpillars that change colour with the leaves in New England. And we filmed grizzly bears doing a new behaviour – hunting caribou – and learnt that swamp bears denned in trees.’
The series is narrated by Black Panther star Michael B Jordan.
‘A lot of his roles are about finding the inner hero, and it felt like a natural fit. Plus, he likes to chill out by watching back-to-back natural history shows.
‘He’s so engaged, and he ad-libbed a lot and just ran with the action. He’s also gorgeous – I hugged him a bit too long. My husband Mark is co-executive producer and he said I was like a child!’