British Columbia

Ryan Reynolds set to narrate new B.C. documentary on the Great Bear Rainforest

It’s easy to think that convincing A-list celebrities like actor Ryan Reynolds and composer Hans Zimmer to sign on for a Canadian documentary would be a difficult task.

Academy award-winning composer Hans Zimmer will write title theme music

Ryan Reynolds will narrate the new IMAX documentary set for release in February 2019. (Credit: Getty Images for Museum of Modern Art)

It's easy to think that persuading A-list celebrities like actor Ryan Reynolds and composer Hans Zimmer to sign on for a Canadian documentary would be a difficult task. 

But ask the director of the upcoming IMAX film The Great Bear Rainforest, Ian McAllister, and he'll tell you that's not the case.

 "It really hasn't been hard to convince anyone to be involved in this," said McAllister to Carolina de Ryk, host of CBC's Daybreak North.

In fact, the director only had to ask Reynolds once if he'd like to narrate.

"He [Ryan Reynolds] is very much a proud Canadian. He loves his country and he was really excited to participate in the film," said McAllister.

The Great Bear Rainforest and its inhabitants are the focus of the new film by Ian McAllister. (Mark Wunsch/Greencoast Media)

For Reynolds, it was about showing his children that there is still an area in the world that has remained wild due to a long history of stewardship.

"I hope this film inspires the younger generation that there is hope for the future if we all work together and take care of our planet's remaining wild places," said Reynolds in a release.

McAllister was also able to convince Academy award-winning composer Hans Zimmer to write the title theme for the documentary.

Bear cubs explore with their mother in B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest. (Andrew S. Wright)

Waiting for the perfect shot

The film tells the story of the animals and Indigenous communities that live in B.C.'s Great Bear Rainforest, including one of the rarest animals on Earth, the all-white Spirit Bear. 

Shooting the documentary was a labour of love for McAllister and his crew who spent more than a year collecting footage for the 42-minute film.

A rare Spirit Bear, also known as White Kermode, in the Great Bear Rainforest. (Paul Nicklen)

Crews would sit in the rain, waiting to capture the perfect shot of a bear in its natural setting.

"To have a bear show up at the right place at the right time... when that magic happens, when all of those things come together... it is a great feeling," said McAllister.
Crews spent roughly 400 days on a boat in wintertime — sometimes in the middle of heavy storms — to capture footage of sea lions, whales and other marine life that populate B.C.'s coast.

Crews spent many hours camped out to capture shots of sea lions, whales, wolves and much more. (Ian McAllister)

Despite all the wet clothing and long, cold nights, McAllister says it was worth it for the opportunity to inspire future environmental preservation.

"We still have not protected our marine jurisdiction, our coastline is still only protected a few per cent, so there's so much work left to be done on the coast," said McAllister.

The film is set to premiere in Vancouver on February 12.

You can listen to the full interview below;

Some big Hollywood names have signed on to be part of a new documentary about the Great Bear Rainforest, on B.C.'s Central Coast. But as director Ian McAllister tells Carolina de Ryk, getting Ryan Reynolds and Hans Zimmer to take part wasn't hard once he showed them the footage: "We only had to ask once," he says. 9:25

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