‘Welcome to Earth’ Producer Jane Root Talks Will Smith’s Adventures and Releasing ‘The Office’

‘Welcome to Earth’ Producer Jane Root Talks Will Smith’s Adventures and Releasing ‘The Office’ January 26, 2022

Recently, National Geographic unveiled the adventurous new docuseries “Welcome to Earth,” featuring two-time Academy Award® nominee Will Smith. In each of the episodes, Smith encounters the beauty and challenges of the planet’s most memorable sites, including erupting volcanoes, sprawling deserts, and exotic animal encounters.

Will Smith hosts ‘Welcome to Earth.’ Image courtesy of Disney+.

The series, produced by Jane Root’s Nutopia, Protozoa Pictures, and Westbrooke Studios and executive produced by Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan,” “Requiem for a Dream”), was birthed out of the previous series “One Strange Rock,” narrated by Smith. According to Root, after the success of the series, Smith told the crew the next time they did a project like that, “he wanted to go.”

“Will is not the typical celebrity; he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty,” she said, adding that the actor had a fear of swimming but was able to conquer it during the “Power of Scent” episode that placed him under water. “The best things in life are on the other side of fear,” he has been quoted as saying.

Although Root was behind the scenes making things happen, she had her own encounters with fear.

“(The most dangerous thing I remember) for the show is we took Will up an exploding volcano, with lava bombs exploding all around,” she said. “For me personally, on a trip to the Galapagos, I jumped off a boat and there was a hammerhead a few feet below me.”

Root also said of her producer run of scenic natural adventure shows, “It’s an incredible honor. Nature is a daily inspiration to me – being able to show its beauty to a global audience, that’s just a gift.” She also expressed gratitude for bringing the National Geographic religious documentary “Jesus: His Life” to audiences.

“It’s THE great story,” she said. “We were astonishingly privileged to get to tell it.”

Before the recent shows, n her tenure as controller of BBC2, Root commissioned “The Office,” which quickly became a global phenomenon and spawned the American remake starring Steve Carell.

“It started as a very small show and just grew and grew,” she said. “I’m still amazed that half the planet knows about it!”

“Welcome to Earth” is currently streaming on Disney+.


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