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Jane Goodall Live!


"She's a star. She loves being a star" says Pierce Brosnan​, a guy who knows a thing or 007 about stardom.The actor appears in "Jane's Journey," a documentary about Jane Goodall, who more than 50 years ago began telling the world stories about the lives of chimpanzees.

"She just has a way of casting a spell," Brosnan adds.

Tuesday evening, that spell will be cast wide — nationwide — when "Jane Goodall Live!" takes place in 500 movie theaters.NCM Fathom Events' one-night multimedia program will play 15 Colorado theaters. Guests include international space station astronauts, as well as Dave Matthews and Charlize Theron​.Still, the main attraction is Goodall.

In 1960, the then-27-year-old Brit arrived in Tanzania's Gombe Stream National Park as one of Louis Leakey​'s primate researchers. She had no degree but knew where she wanted to make her mark.

She'd wanted to travel to Africa since she was a child."Girls certainly didn't do that sort of thing," she says in "Jane's Journey." "Dream about things you can actually achieve, people told me. But not Mum."

Groundbreaking findings

Gombe was the fruition of one dream and the beginning of others. Her research changed how humans understood primates but also ourselves.
In 1986, Goodall left her jungle for the public arena where she speaks on behalf of the animals who changed her course and the work of the Washington, D.C.-based Jane Goodall Institute, founded in 1977.

"The ability to honor a pioneer who comes along once in a generation, that was too big and too important to not bring to movie theaters," says Dan Diamond, senior vice president at the Centennial-based company.

The animal-rights and sustainability quasar will appear live via satellite and answer questions culled from the Fathom website.Goodall's rock-star vibe is old news to Boulder's Michael Aisner, who produced "Jane Goodall Live!" More than 25 years ago, the Bicycling Hall of Famer and events maestro was sitting in the offices of Rolling Stone​ magazine waiting to get the editor to sponsor the Coors Classic. He picked up a magazine.

"I started reading an article about Jane Goodall," says Aisner. On the flight home, he wrote a mash note. "I think I put it in the mail to Jane Goodall, Tanzania, Africa."

Three months later he got an envelope from Africa. A month later, they spoke. Soon after, Aisner lured Goodall to an event at the University of Colorado's Macky Auditorium. It was a smash. In 1991, he produced the Gombe 30 Celebration in Los Angeles. Michael Jackson​ and Jack Lemmon​ co-chaired. Goodall and Aisner's saga continues with "Jane Goodall Live!""Jane's Journey," which anchors Tuesday's event, makes clear, the spry Goodall, now 77, is a charming and forthright raconteur.In a scene from the film, Goodall has gotten an award and is standing at a podium, her silver hair pulled back in that trademark ponytail."Many of you know Dr. Dolittle​," she begins, recounting her girlhood reading habits. "There's the one where Dr. Dolittle takes the circus animals back to Africa. Well, I love that book." Then there was Tarzan — the Edgar Rice Burroughs​ books, not the films. She was 10 or so.

"I read about this glorious lord of the jungle. Obviously, I fell passionately in love with him — as little girls 10 or 11 do. And what did he do? Married that other, wimpy Jane."The crowd laughs. Because, Goodall — champion of animals, illuminator of humans — could never be confused for a wimpy Jane.

"Jane Goodall Live!" Go to fathomevents.com/ jane for a list of area theaters. Tickets: $12-$14,Film critic Lisa Kennedy: 303-954-1567 or lkennedy@denverpost.com; also on blogs.denverpost.com/madmoviegoer

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