Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s Hollywood Return On Disneynature’s Elephant​

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex's Hollywood Return as Narrator of Disneynature's Elephant

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, returned to work in Hollywood for an important cause and irresistible creatures. She is the narrator of Disneynature’s Elephant, which went straight to streaming on Disney+. The documentary follows a herd of elephants, led by matriarch Gaia, as they make their 1,000-mile journey crossing the Kalahari desert between the dry season and wet season of the region. It is a journey their ancestors have made for generations, the knowledge of where to go and how to survive is passed through the elephants’ complex social life. Meghan’s narration is so effervescent and passionate about the subjects, that her excitement is infectious. When a crocodile pops out of the water at an elephant, she even screams in surprise.

In classic Disneynature style, the film captures dramatic life-or-death situations that wild animals face at all times. A pride of lions, all females as they are the hunters among lions, approach and attempt to encircle the elephant herd as they drink from a watering hole at dusk. Gaia and other head elephants in charge (HEICs) of the herd, turn and trumpet at the lions to show no fear to the lions and appear fierce enough to keep the lions from trying to hunt their babies. In narration, Meghan observes, “Gaia must show the lions her family is strong. The predators shouldn’t waste their time.”

Disneynature and older Disney animal documentaries have face criticism that they anthropomorphize animals for comedic effect. During an
elephant pool party, it is hard not to apply human traits to the craziness that ensues when the elephants enjoy one of the last watering holes before the dry season shrinks their size. The elephants splash around having so much fun that they turn the water into undrinkable gloppy mud. An excitable one-year-old, Jomo steels the show and almost gets kicked out of the pool for roughness. Jomo is the son of Shani, Gaia’s younger sister, who may be considered next in line for control over the herd should something happen to leader Gaia.

Elephant, above all else, illustrates how important society and connectedness is for elephants. In an interview about the film, Meghan states, “These creatures are so majestic and at the same time they are so sensitive and so connected. We see in this film just how remarkable they are. Their memories are amazing. The close connection of the herd, the protectiveness of their young. I think they’re a lot more like us than they are different.”

Profits from the film are to be directed toward an organization near and dear to Meghan and Harry’s hearts, Elephants Without Borders. Though with no theatrical release and the film going straight to streaming, it is not yet clear how profits will be decided for the benefit of the cause.

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