For the 1988 film "Gorilla in the Mist," Sigourney Weaver took on the role of naturalist Dian Fossey, exploring her work in Rwanda with mountain gorillas.
The film taught her not only about the majestic great apes that are faced with extinction from poaching, but also how to communicate with them — something she values to this day.
“I really only knew a few phrases, but I’m happy to impart them," she said on Britain's "The One" show. "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 has returned since the role that landed her an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. In 2006, Animal Planet aired the one-hour documentary, "Gorillas Revisited with Sigourney Weaver," that focused primarily on the conservation program run by the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.
“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.”
Check out this clip of Weaver from "Mist" below: