Some actors learn martial arts or intricate dance moves for a juicy role. Some have to learn phrases in different languages and be passable as a fluent speaker in another tongue. But perhaps no language skills were as important to nail as Sigourney Weaver’s task of speaking gorilla while depicting Dian Fossey for the film “Gorillas in the Mist.” And nail it she did.
It’s been twenty three years since the film came out, but Weaver still keeps up with her gorilla phrases so when she goes back, she can communicate.
On Britain’s “The One Show,” Weaver said:
“I really only knew a few phrases but I’m happy to impart them. One is ‘uh-uhm’ which is basically, ‘I’m here,’ a reassuring, gentle (greeting). And then I always knew a gorilla was unhappy if it was saying, ‘Oh oh oh!’ which meant stop whatever you are doing, which I always did. There’s not too much to remember and I hope to go back, so I have to keep up with my vocabulary!”
In fact, she went back a few years ago to visit with Fossey’s great apes for a documentary.
“The gorillas I was working with for many days were all from Dian Fossey’s study group. I’m happy to say that they were a group of 25 (during filming) and when I recently went back it was now over 50.”