Angela Bassett Talks Narrating Women-Led Nat Geo Docuseries ‘Queens’: ‘That Spoke to My Heart’

Angela Bassett hit a special golden hue carpet on Thursday to celebrate the docuseries “Queens.” Bassett serves as executive producer and narrator of the show, which explores female leaders in wildlife species.

From the beginning of pre-production, the project was entirely led by women.

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“I said ‘no,’ initially, because I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, to be in a booth so we can do these voiceovers [is] many, many hours.’ And then they came back again. And they told me more,” Bassett related. “And when I heard that the crew – the entire crew – behind the scenes, behind the characters, was made up of women and that the production team from around the world and the crew went through leaps and measures to photograph these animals – wow! That spoke to my heart – just the resilience and the spirit of that.”

Series co-executive producer, showrunner and writer Chloe Sarash said that the creative team wanted Bassett from the beginning.

“We always hoped – did we dare to dream – that we’d have Angela attached to this project,” Sarash said. “We showed her some early cuts and she was so excited. Her creativity and her backing on this project has been unbelievable. For me, as a writer, to have Angela Bassett read your words … that’s a moment.”

While the project was entirely led by women, when it came to hiring enough women to pull off the production, the “Queens” producers realized that they had to patch holes that existed in the industry.

“We [needed] the series to be female led, but then when we looked around we realized that there weren’t enough people at the right level and high enough to do that,” Sarash said. “So we very intentionally worked to mentor and train and bring an extraordinary new group of talented filmmakers through. And by doing that, we’ve also left the door open for this to happen again.”

Bassett said that, out of all the animal queens in wildlife, she was most taken with the bonobos.

“They’re so sweet and so nurturing,” she said. “But I also was attracted in the story of the jewel bees, because they were just so beautiful and yet so deadly, so ruthless to their own.”

Bassett will also be returning to “9-1-1” with its new season next month. The series is shifting from Fox to ABC for its seventh season.

“When we come back, we got to come back strong, we got to come back big … [so] we’re doing a whole exciting adventure. Bobby [Peter Krause] and I are four years married, never went on a honeymoon. So last we saw us, we boarded a yacht for our honeymoon. You think it’s gonna go perfectly? Of course not,” she teased.

“9-1-1” will premiere on March 14 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

“Queens” premieres March 4 on National Geographic, with new episodes available on Disney+ and Hulu the following day.

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