'Penguins' filmmakers on finding a rock-n-roll penguin lead, promoting conservation

The creators of the new feature film discuss creating Steve, an Adelie penguin, getting frostbite while filming in Antarctica, and how the film will help conservation in the wild.
7:04 | 04/20/19

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Transcript for 'Penguins' filmmakers on finding a rock-n-roll penguin lead, promoting conservation
Reporter: It's one of the most remote places on the planet. Antarctica, home to some of the harshest conditions and fiercest wildlife, and the new nature documentary takes us right there to the ends of the Earth. But the star of the film might surprise you. Steve. ��� Thunder ��� Reporter: He's the klutzy penguin, stumbling from adolescence into adulthood. Think of it as a rom-com for He likes long walks on the beach, fishing and collecting rocks. Reporter: Steve, plucked from obscurity, from roughly 10 million of his kind to star in the movie "Penguins." The film directed by powerhouse wildlife documentariens. What drew to you this project We worked on a number of Disney nature movies, and they've all had elements of comedy in them. But we reckoned that a day with a penguin was such that he could carry a whole movie. We interested in telling a story about a first-time father but a first-time father making mistakes like all of us do. Reporter: Narrated by id Helms of "The office" and of "Hangover" fame. But for this, he's donning his penguin suit. Why am I doing this? Am I panicking? No. Reporter: How doehe personify his silliness and the situations he finds himself in? From the beginning we felt Ed was a penguin, in a former life, he must have been a penguin. I'm just going to go pick up some fish. I was sitting there watching these penguins building their nest, and there was this one gathering stones and muttering to himself as he's coming back, dropping his stone down and going back up the slope and muttering to himself. Occasionally he'd fall over and drop his stone, and I was watching him for a couple hours thinking, this guy is a doofus. That was the seed of Steve's character. Good eyesight is everything in the penguin world. So he definitely tried and tried and tried again and didn't get it right for quite a long time. Reporter: And yet he mentioned to attract adaley. ��� I can't fight this feeling any ��� and yet I'm still afraid to let it flow ��� ��� what started out as The funny thing about penguins, when they first meet each other, they literally look at each other. It's more than just a beautiful courtship ritual. Steve and adaly will use these moments to memorize each other's voices. After this they'll be able to find one another amongst the crowds forever. Reporter: What about the sound track? We're looking at reo speed wagon, white snake, average white band? We wanted to embody what Steve would listen to if he was a human being. Reporter: Steve's mojo. If you were a not very good dad out there driving around, you'd be listening to this kind of thing on the radio. And that felt like the right genre for Steve. Reporter: Eventually, they start a family. They mate for life. With the sea ice now gone, it's like a giant pantry full of food at their doorstep in time for any hungry mouths that might appear. And adalene has her timing just right. They trade places and Steve nervously steps into the role of father. For the first time in his life, he has no idea what he's doing. Reporter: Each intimate moment captured in epic scale with the highest-resolution cameras, hazardous filming that would take three years. Working in Antarctica is one of the hardest places to work on the planet. And then of course we have to be in the right place at the footage. That's all about battling the elements. They're coming down in huge numbers, which is exactly what we came here for. And mark is trying to film them. Reporter: You have to put camera people out there for days on end. We found out after about six weeks, individuals were too tired. So every six weeks we were changing people over. Reporter: I understand you lost part of a toe for the cause? I was silly enough to let one of my feet get cold, and I burst some of the cells in my toe and that turned into frostbite. Reporter: With penguins, the parent company, Disney are reaching a milestone, ten years of wildlife journeys. Every year, every film has had a conservation initiative, where a percentage of the box office in the first week goes to things. And in this case, we are supporting the global penguin society, an amazing conservation work they're doing in the southern hemisphere, looking after the 18 different species of penguins on our planet including Steve. This movie is very accurate in terms of science, but it goes to the emotion to the story of Steve. And people can perceive it's not that easy to be a penguin. It's not funny all the way. Reporter: These penguins are some of the most at-risk of their species. The biggest threat, climate change, pollution and warming ocean temperatures. By the end of the century, 60% of the population could be gone. How much of an impact will the ticket sales and awareness raised help? For every ticket sold from the 17th to the 23rd, part of the tickets will be donated for the campaigns. You are helping Steve and all the species in the planet. So you are becoming a penguin hero. Reporter: For "Nightline," juju Chang in New York. Our thanks to juju. You can watch "Penguins" in theaters now.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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