I had such a fun time sharing all things Finding Dory with you the last few weeks! You can check out my spoiler-free Finding Dory review from when I attended the Hollwood Premiere. I had the chance to interview Ellen DeGeneres and Ed O’Neill, Kaitlin Olson and Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence. Now I’m excited to share with you a fun interview we had with Eugene Levy, voice of Dory’s dad in Finding Dory!
Eugene Levy received a phone call offering him a part in Finding Dory.
“I got a phone call and it was a lovely call, you know, asking me if I wanted to be a part of it. Of course I said yes, kind of jumped at it. Didn’t take too much thinking to be involved in the sequel to Finding Nemo so it was lovely.”
Voice actors usually record by themselves, but he got to record a session with Diane Keaton (Dory’s Mom).
“I did have one session that I worked with Diane and we were in two different cities. I was in Toronto. She was in Los Angeles and they hooked up cameras so that I could see her on a monitor in my studio and she could see me on a monitor in her studio and we were able to do the scene together which doesn’t happen a lot when you’re doing these things because mostly you’re working by yourself, you know. It’s quite lonely actually. But that was fun and the great thing too was when I was working with Diane was that I was kind of mesmerized by just watching her on the monitor working even though I was doing a scene with her. I was very aware that it was Diane Keaton behind the mike and I’m just fascinated, just watching the way she was working behind the microphone and then I’d have to go oh, yeah, I’ve got a line here.”
Eugene Levy Praises Andrew Stanton as a Director and Talks His Favorite Part of Working on Finding Dory
“It’s a great story. Animated features, I’ve done kind of a few of them and it is a different way of working than doing a normal movie. You have to get used to that process of going in, not having a lot of time. I mean, these sessions usually are like three hours and you get five sessions maybe over two and a half, three years, whenever this started I think and it’s just going over every line and giving the director as many options as you can on every line so that when he’s putting it all together, he’s got the gamut of delivery on a line from A to Z kind of, in a way.
It’s odd but exciting in a way especially when you’re working with somebody like Andrew Stanton who is so great at doing this. I mean he’s a genius. He wrote the story and directed it and when you’re directing actors in the studio working like this when you’re just kind of just pounding away at lines and giving different options, you know, you’ve gotta be a great director, you’ve gotta be a good psychiatrist to keep the morale up and he just laughs a lot. He laughs at a lot. He laughs a lot which makes you feel good and kind of gives you the confidence to go on.
The storyline here was a great storyline and Nemo was kind of funny and had such a great emotional impact to it that Dory, when I read the script had the same emotional impact. You could feel it when you were reading it so you knew you were onto something hot.”
Euege Levy Shares The Challenges of Working on Finding Dory
“The role, you know, as written was kind of a nice dad. I’ve played a nice dad before. (Jokingly talking about playing the Dad in American Pie) I’m doing it now in our television show which we’re shooting in Toronto but this was kind of a role where you have to be funny. The character was written to be kind of a bit of a jokester in a dad kind of way which is not necessarily really funny but thinking he’s really funny, sometimes embarrassingly funny.
Having a kind of a child who is memory impaired let’s say and the idea of how dangerous that can be when your kid doesn’t really remember short term – all these life lessons and safety precautionary things that you’re saying, don’t do this and remember not to do that, when they can’t remember from one step to the next you’re going.
What’s gonna happen if we are never around which is exactly what happens in the movie is, she gets lost and is gone and the fact is unlike any other fish, any other kid fish, she will not remember what she was not supposed to do and what’s gonna happen and that’s something a parent has to live with in this case. I mean any parent of a child with any kind of impairment goes through things that normal parents don’t necessarily have to deal with on a day to day.
That was a big part of it too and still trying to keep everything kind of light and charming and funny which is the brilliance of the script that Andrew came up with because it’s all packaged in one. You have all these emotions kind of snowballing through the movie and you’re kind of laughing and crying and feeling and touching and it’s great. It really is.”
Eugene Levy’s Favorite Character is Baby Dory
“I have to say the little Dory is I think my favorite character because when I first heard that voice, I honestly I got so emotional and this is one of the recording sessions. They actually showed a little section of the animation which hadn’t been fully fleshed out yet but that’s the first time I heard the voice and I mean, I almost burst out crying. I’ve never heard anything so sweet in all my life.”
Eugene Levy Praises the Animation of Finding Dory
“When I saw the movie I think what impressed me the most was number one, just the brilliance of the entire project and how beautifully the animation is. What a great, fantastic job they did but how the story just when you think you’ve got a handle on where the story’s going and then it just kind of opens up and then it opens up some more and just when you think you’re bringing it home, it’s opening up some more and then it gets into such an adventure of it’s like an action. It turns into an action movie at some point and it’s so incredibly real.
I looked at a shot of the ocean at one point just before Destiny hops into it and I’m looking at the ocean going I wonder, did they actually shoot the ocean? That’s the real ocean because you’re seeing a million actual white caps and waves? And they said no, that was all animated. It’s just incredible animation but that was the thing. The story just — it just keeps going and going and going and just picks up energy and picks up pace and wow, you get caught up in it.”
Disclosure: Disney provided an all expenses paid trip to Los Angeles including travel, accommodations and activities. All thoughts and opinions are my own.