It’s hard to believe that just last week, I was attending the red carpet world premiere of Finding Dory! The movie was so good and you won’t want to miss it this summer. But even more exciting was that I was able to have the chance to interview Ellen DeGeneres (do I even have to say her last name?!) and Ed O’Neill who voice Dory and Hank in Finding Dory.
Ellen and Ed shared a few tidbits about their experience in voicing Finding Dory and I’m excited to share it with you today!
Bring the Tissues
I already mentioned in my review that you need to bring the tissues, but even Ellen and Ed were feeling it too! Ellen told us, “It was weird because I was crying, and then I was crying because I was crying on screen and I’m crying with myself”. Ed added, “I know the first time I saw it, I didn’t get that choked up, but last night, when it started happening, I was — “Oh, my God, I’m gonna cry.”
Just Keep Swimming
Obviously, “Just Keep Swimming” was Dory’s mantra in Finding Nemo and it continues in Finding Dory. We asked Ellen and Ed if they had three words that keep them going when facing a challenging time. Ed jokingly said, “Just keep punching” which had us all cracking up.
Ellen shared, “It’s weird that I became a part of this iconic character, because I didn’t know it before this happened, but that was my motto, you know what I mean? My life has gone through a lot of different twists and turns, and I did just keep swimming. I didn’t realize that that was what I was doing. But I just kept moving forward, and I just kept doing what I know how to do, which is make people happy and make people smile and make people laugh. And so it’s just so weird that that is part of this fish’s motto.”
“I’d talked to so many people that go through whatever it is, if it’s an illness, or they are going through a difficult time, “Just keep swimming” is what they think about. So, I guess that’s everybody’s motto that persevere.”
Finding Dory’s Message
Every Pixar movie has a message and Finding Dory doesn’t disappoint. When we asked Ellen, what are you hoping that your characters bring to kids, to parents, and to people, she shared, “I think that message (of just keep swimming). I think “never give up” and “be optimistic” and “there’s always another way.” When someone says that there isn’t another way, there is. You don’t get stuck. And no matter what your situation is, it can get better, and everybody starts from a different places, and some people start with a lot more odds stacked against them. But there’s a way out. There’s a way to use whatever you do best to help you, you know.”
“Even if you have a disability, use your strengths. Whatever that is. Mine was making people laugh. I had a lot of stuff that was hard for me in my life, and I knew that I could make people laugh, and that was my strength.”
Ed shared with us, “When my character says there’s no way out, and Dory says, “there’s always a way out,” and Hank says, “There’s no way out,” and then you say, “Well, what about that?” And it’s, “Oh, there is a way out!” It’s the same thing, you know. There’s always some other option”.
Researching Their Characters
I had the chance to ask Ellen and Ed if they did any research on the Blue Tang Fish (Dory) and an octopus (Hank). Ed shared, “I did one thing. I Googled “mimic octopus. I did. Somebody told me to. And I didn’t know that that animal existed. You know, it wasn’t like an octopus I knew of. They shape shift. Or they change colors. Somebody said they only live about three years. They don’t have a long lifespan, but it’s probably good because they’d be ruling the world. Amazing.”
Ellen then said, We should Google that, right now. Let’s make sure that that’s accurate, but, you know, it’s quality versus quantity, right, so it has a full life of being anything it wants it to be, and mimicking whatever it wants to mimic.”
When a blogger googled how long the mimic octopus really lived, we found out that it was only actually about 2 years.
Ellen said, “Well, this is a bummer, all of a sudden.”
Ah, it totally is! Someone better make a sequel to Finding Dory so Hank can be in it!
Being in the Voice Booth
Both Ellen and Ed shared with us how it was like to record in a booth as opposed to being on screen. Ellen shared, “Here’s the great thing, there’s no hair and makeup, and you can just show up. But it’s four hours of — Dory is always left behind. She’s always catching up. She’s always panting! I’m hyperventilating. Or I was like, screaming, and it was a lot of that, and not nearly as much as I see in the film, oddly enough. Like, “Where is all that?” Because I did it for three years.”
Ed added, “It’s like, if you’re doing a movie, and you’re eating food, you don’t want to really eat too much food, because it’s a hundred takes, maybe, you know. If you’re eating ribs, you end up eating a hundred ribs, and it’s similar. You have to pace yourself on these things. The voice you know, it’s almost like being a singer, you know. You can’t burn out, ’cause you’re the only one there.
Ellen laughed saying, “Yeah, I would go home, and well, I do this because I talk for a living, and I would go home and I just wouldn’t talk. So when people would ask me to speak whale, I’m like, “No.” You go and watch the movie, and watch me speak whale. Can’t do it.”
The Making of Finding Dory
Ellen revealed she had zero involvement in the making of Finding Dory. She shared, “I mean, I take full responsibility that it’s happening, because I made it happen. I kept saying, “What’s wrong with you people? It won an Academy Award.” It’s a great film, it’s iconic! I didn’t ever imagine that it would be about Dory or that — I just thought that Pixar makes sequels, right? I mean, there’s a Toy Story One, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, there’s like, sequels, where’s the sequel? But then it just became a joke. I had a talk show, so I had a place to make a joke about it, every time a new sequel came out.”
“And it really was just a joke. At a certain point, I just gave up. I just thought, there’s no way. I guess I stopped swimming. I know, it’s sad. But it really was not — and so when Andrew called me, his idea, and he said it’s about Dory and finding her family.”
“We would go in with things that they wrote, and then they gave us free rein to do whatever, so I had a lot of lines that I don’t necessarily remember, because it’s been three years. But, the line — “how can someone visit this park in one day?” That was an ad lib, and just things that you just, you could play around with. But I didn’t have anything to do with the writing of the film.”
And then, the most amazing thing happened. A blogger asked if Ellen would dance with us and she said that Ed was just hoping that someone would ask that – HA! The pictures are a little blurry but we were busy getting down with Ellen DeGeneres and Ed O’Neill!
Disclosure: Disney provided an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles including travel, accommodations and activities. All thoughts and opinions are my own.