Ed Helms will narrate Disneynature’s Penguins. The comedic actor, perhaps best known for his roles as the hapless Stuart Price in the wildly successful The Hangover trilogy and Andy Bernard in the US version of The Office TV series, has filled his resume over the years with successful television and film projects. His latest comedic turn, Corporate Animals, debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
Founded in 2008, Walt Disney Studios’ Disneynature was created as an independent film wing that produces modestly budgeted nature films. For the past ten years and counting, the production company has released a variety of documentaries by some of the world’s top nature filmmakers. Films such as Oceans, Earth, Bears and Chimpanzee all share the distinct honor of being some of the highest grossing feature-length nature films in existence. The 2012 Chimpanzee, which is voiced by Tim Allen, still retains the distinction of having the highest-grossing opening weekend for a feature-length nature documentary. With seven hit nature films currently on their resume, Disneynature is now making moves for their eighth and latest documentary.
Thanks to a press release from Disneynature, we now know that the production company’s eighth film will be called Penguins and will be narrated by Helms. The film is introduced by Helms in a teaser from the Walt Disney Studios YouTube channel, which can be viewed below. Not only will Helms be handling the role of narrator for the documentary, but he’ll also be supplying the voice of lead Adélie penguin, Steve. The live-action film is set in Antarctica, following Steve as he experiences a coming-of-age adventure alongside millions of other penguins. Together, the birds search for food, shelter and mates, all while keeping a careful eye out for lethal predators like whales and seals.
With its release date currently set for April 17, 2019, Penguins will also be donating a portion of its ticket sales to The Wildlife Conservation Network, an organization that (among other things), helps to protect penguins across the southern hemisphere. The film boasts some impressive looking footage of penguins and other wildlife in Antarctica and in addition to the short introductory clip, Helms also had this to say about his inclusion in this new Disneynature production:
“Disney movies are filled with poignancy and real emotion, but also are extremely funny and relatable—this movie is no different. It's a true life adventure with real footage of penguins in Antarctica, but told in a way that tugs at your heart strings a little and also has quite a few chuckles. For me, this movie is a very cool mash-up of narration and character work. I get to voice Steve’s inner monologue as well as straight narration. It was a really fun challenge for me—a privilege getting to imagine what this penguin might be thinking—and I’m really excited about it.”
With such a proven track record of success behind the relatively new production company, and with penguins already proving themselves to be box-office gold in certified hits like March of the Penguins and the animated Surf’s Up, now seems as good a time as any for a documentary like this. The addition of Ed Helms is nothing short of brilliant as well, as his comedic sensibilities are sure to shine through while voicing the inner monologue of Steve. And, given that March of the Penguins took their concept all the way to Oscar glory back in 2006, perhaps Penguins might find the same sort of success, as it seems another perfect way to educate and entertain.