New Nature Doc Narrated by Cate Blanchett

There is new voice work with Cate Blanchett. She narrates the new nature documentary, OUR LIVING WORLD, from Netflix. The four-part documentary will premiere on Netflix 17 April.

Cate talks to Forbes about Toku Saké

Our Living World

At first glance, the grazing patterns of reindeer in the Arctic may not appear to have much to do with the day-to-day lives of hippos in Africa. Despite the physical distance between these herds, however, their survival is bound together in a vast and intricately linked network of connections that allows our planet to sustain life itself.

Our Living World, an ambitious new docuseries from Wild Space and Freeborne Media (the Emmy-winning team behind Our Great National Parks) portrays just how extraordinary these connections can be.

Traveling from Angola to New Zealand and dozens of countries in between, filmmakers, wildlife photographers, and scientists come together to depict the wondrous tapestry of creatures and ecosystems that sustain Earth’s existence — and that are are under serious threat due to human activity.

If the voice ushering you through the globe-spanning marvels of the planet sounds familiar, it’s for good reason. Academy Award–winning actor Cate Blanchett narrates the four-part docuseries.

“We found it very natural for her to speak with authority on the subject,” executive producer James Honeyborne told Netflix, adding that Blanchett had particular experience to bring to the series. “She is a beekeeper, so she has such a natural affinity for the subject and knows a lot about ecology. We found it very natural for her to speak with authority on the subject.”


Cate Blanchett On Toku Saké And Her Passion-First Investment Strategy

In the many years I’ve been asking celebrities about their latest investments, I’ve never seen someone light up quite like Cate Blanchett (icon of the silver screen-turned-Creative Director of the small-yet-luxuriously enormous Toku Saké).

“I sort of stalked you,” Cate Blanchett smirks towards Toku Saké’s co-founder Anthony Newman, before turning back to me. “I’ve been wanting to be involved in the creation of saké for, I would say, 15 years?”

Blanchett is a self-proclaimed saké obsessive, but her fascination with said fermented rice wine extends beyond drinking it. During her tenure as the global ambassador for esteemed Japanese skincare brand, SK-II, she was regularly immersed in the intricate processes of saké production.

After meticulously researching 350 possible yeast strains found in saké ferment for its best-selling “holy grail” Face Essence, SK-II isolated a yeast strain called Saccharomycopsis and trademarked it under the name Pitera. A saké ferment so powerful, in fact, it now makes up 90% of the product’s entire composition.

“I had done tour after tour of all the saké breweries around Kyoto and became fascinated with the fermentation process,” she says. “That, and obviously, the saké.”

Still, as those fifteen years passed, this was not Blanchett’s first attempt at entering the saké market.

“I had explored doing something like this with various people before and it sort of just – not crumbled, because nothing ever crumbles – it just didn’t come to fruition,” she says.

“All of my long-term creative relationships have happened organically, and I was really inspired by Toku’s borderline obsession with saké. This happened relatively quickly; it’s nascent, it’s ready to go, but it also has a really smart strategy laid out.”

The brand’s strategy, in short, is all about reframing what the Western world assumes saké is.

Their unique product is something of a delicacy. Due to its exceptionally cold climate and unique terroir, Hokkaido is home to far fewer saké breweries than the rest of Japan – bar Toku. Simply put, it’s more challenging to produce saké in there than other regions, but those who manage to do so create sakés with uniquely crisp, aromatic flavor profile and an exceptionally smooth finish.

Still, after eight years of trial and error, its late 2022 debut wasn’t poised to rock the market; co-founders Anthony Newman and Peter Hudson simply wanted to make a special saké. They only released 1,500 bottles to test the market at first, and a celebrity partnership was the last thing on their minds.

The first? Getting people to approach the product – which doesn’t come cheap at £155 ($197) – like they would approach wine.

“I don’t want to call it a problem, but there’s a challenge there – for people in the West to understand how to enjoy saké,” says Blanchett. “Not only the ritual of it, but also the pairing of it. There’s a disconnect with people thinking it’s only to be enjoyed with Japanese cuisine.”

Thankfully, the data paints a compelling picture for Toku’s future growth: Japanese saké exports soared to unprecedented heights in 2022, surging to a record-breaking 47.5 billion Japanese yen (equivalent to $318 million). This marked an impressive 18% increase from the previous year and a staggering 431% rise since 2012.

The category may not be seeing explosive growth, but it’s certainly seeing a micro-boom.

“I’m a proud investor,” Blanchett continues. “I really do believe not only in this category – and as you say, there is a micro-boom – but in the potential of it. But you’ve got to be with the right people, in the right conversation, and you’ve got to be interested in paving the way.”

Toku is paving that way slower than you might expect, too. Even with one of the world’s most recognizable faces on board, they’re in no rush to pop corks. There have been no massive launches, no billboard campaigns, and no song-and-dance media storms.

“I really love the pace at which we’re moving, which I think is antithetical to the way most people act when they’re releasing something,” she continues, “but I think it’s really important to invest time and energy into the things you love.”

“We’re in no rush. We know what we have is exceptional.”

Sources: Netflix, Forbes

1 Comment on “New Nature Doc Narrated by Cate Blanchett”

  1. Cate has a wonderful, low and well modulated voice, marvellous to hear.
    Reading the yellow pages would be fascinating to hear from her…

Comments are closed.