Charles Dance is not just the narrator for the National Geographic Channel's Savage Kingdom, he has visited the site of filming as well. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com, the Game of Thrones star confirmed how he visited Botswana for the filming of the nature documentary series and admits, his time in the South African country was "fantastic."
Dance had a lot of praise for the photographers and film crews that get footage for Savage Kingdom out in the African savanna. That is thanks at least in part to his personal experience, since Dance visited them on "set" during the filming of Season 2. Asked if he had ever been to the filming location, he said: "I did go out, actually, after the first season! I was asked if I wanted to go out to Botswana, and I did!"
"It was fantastic. I went on Safari for three or four days, and I met the guys who shoot the stuff. It was wonderful," he went on. "Absolutely wonderful." Dance adds that the Savage Kingdom film crews "sit out in the Bush for two or three weeks at a time," joking that "they're kind of like real life 'Crocodile Dundees,' these wildlife cameramen."
"They're an extraordinary breed. They sit out there, you know, in their beat-up Toyota land cruiser or whatever it is they're using," he said. "With a camera strapped to the side of the vehicle with enough food to last them for a couple of weeks. And they sit and wait, and get footage. They're patient, and they're very, very good cameramen."
The footage they capture is then cut into a narrative, and scripts are written for Dance to read. He said that the show's unique "pseudo-dramatic storyline" comes naturally, and ultimately serves the show well. "Well, they haven't created it, it's just there. It's there to see," Dance said. "So when the films are cut, there isn't much kind of cheating, if I could use that word."
Savage Kingdom Season 4 premiered last weekend and continues every Friday night. The series sets itself apart from other nature shows by personifying its subjects — even giving them names — and applying a narrative to their hunts, their feuds over resources and territory, and their family lives. It has followed the same population of lions, hyenas, leopards and other predators of the savanna for years now, and both Dance and viewers have become deeply invested.
Savage Kingdom Season 4, Episode 2 premieres on Friday, Aug. 21 at 9 p.m. ET on National Geographic. Previous episodes are available to stream on Hulu, or on NationalGeographic.com. For more on the National Geographic show and all things, Charles Dance, stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest!