In 2009, director Louie Psihoyos opened the eyes of the world to the annual dolphin slaughter in Japan with his documentary, "The Cove." Unlike other activist films in the genre, Psihoyos cleverly edited his story in the vein of a Hollywood thriller, blending education with edge-of-your-seat action. 

"The movie is a result of watching to many James Bond movies as a child, I mean, it really is a wonderful blend of that," he told ScreenCrave. "I got to buy all the toys and play with them and then we went to play 'Ocean’s Eleven,' but it was for a higher goal."

As I reported on last July, Psihoyos is currently in production on a follow-up to his Academy Award-winning film called "The Singing Planet." Unlike "The Cove," which focused on the plight of one species, this new project tackles the much broader topic of mass extinction. 

"Half the species on the planet might disappear by the end of the century and humans are the cause of it," Psihoyos says in a new interview with the Wall Street Journal. "The idea behind 'The Singing Planet' is that just about everything has been singing, but we haven’t been listening."

Besides the increased cast of endangered characters, the production crew has also been filming in ocean habitats all over the world — from Europe to the Gulf to the Galapagos Islands. And then there's Psihoyos' decision to shoot in 3-D, a move he insists will add to the scenes playing out in theaters. 

"We want to make it immersive," he says. "I went diving with whales in Tonga, and when they sing, your whole body vibrates — it’s an emotional experience, and we want that to be transmitted to the viewers."

Channeling the effective storytelling that made "The Cove" so engaging, Psihoyos says that we can expect yet another eco-thriller. "If 'The Cove' was 'Ocean’s Eleven,' the new film’s going to be 'Ocean’s Twelve.,'" he told "A little bit bigger, better, and higher quality in its production values."

"The Singing Planet" is expected to premiere in 2013.  

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

'Cove' director promises new eco-thriller
Louie Psihoyos says 'The Singing Planet' will be bigger, better, and higher quality than its award-winning predecessor.