Disney and Pixar are well known for their captivating and charming storyline sequels like the “Toy Story” trilogy, “Cars 2” and “Monsters University.” The sequels don’t stop there, and on June 17, fans of “Finding Nemo” will get to return to Pixar’s underwater world with the highly-anticipated “Finding Dory.” Director Andrew Stanton and producer Lindsey Collins talked to members of the press via conference call April 7 about what it was like to return to the “Finding” series and provided a detailed look into the new journey of our old friend Dory.
“Finding Dory” is the tale of Dory’s journey to find her family and will premiere 13 years after “Finding Nemo” came out in theaters. This wide gap of time presented some interesting differences and difficulties.
“I realized, ‘Wait a minute, all the people that liked this movie are 13 years older and they’re probably in college now, or they’re parents,’ and it didn’t dawn on me that like wow, it’s gonna be a whole different class of an audience coming to this movie,” Stanton remarked.
Collins and Stanton took on the burden of responsibility in making sure this film was worthy of carrying on the “Nemo” legacy. As far as other challenges because of the 13 year gap, Stanton talked about how difficult it was to write for Dory: “She was billed to be a supporting character, to make the other people look good, and putting her in the spotlight and making her the main character with short term memory loss proved to be very difficult to write for. And I started to hate the person that came up with her, which was me.”
Stanton and Collins discussed what it was like working with Ellen DeGeneres (the voice of Dory) who was on board with the sequel since day one. They dwelled on DeGeneres’s delivery of her lines that make Dory all the more special.
“It’s just been the charm and kind of a genuine, kind of wisdom and kind of approachability in the way she delivers a line that, I think for us it’s gold.” Collins joked that she did about 500 lines probably 500 times. The part of Dory was actually written specifically for Ellen when Stanton had the idea of a character with short-term memory loss and watched how Ellen changed the subject of her sentence five times on her TV show.
“Finding Dory” also incorporates some heavier topics prevalent today such as self-identity. Dory saw her short-term memory loss as a burden or handicap and Stanton wanted to make sure that she liked herself as much as the rest of the world liked her. “It’s a bit of a metaphor for everybody. Everybody has something about them that’s not perfect. But it’s actually what’s making you special and unique, and you learn… to own that part of yourself and to embrace it, and know that’s what makes you different than somebody else in a good way,” Stenton explained. For Dory, finding herself goes hand in hand with her journey to find her family.
Stanton and Collins dropped some fun hints which gave details about Pixar’s iconic hidden “Easter eggs,” including the Pizza Planet truck and the importance of numbers. According to the directors, anytime you see a number anywhere, it means something. Also, they provided some exclusive information, telling the audience to make sure to stay through the credits.
You can expect to meet a whole new slew of characters with a little less of an emphasis on Marlin and Nemo. One character to look forward to meeting is Hank the octopus, among other natural sea life that’s around the California coast.
Dory is a source of inspiration and positive influence throughout the film with her non-judgemental, happy spirit. Stanton discussed how Dory was who he always wanted to be. “I always wanted to just be caught up in the moment and just enjoy it, everything for what it is and always see the best in everything, see everything half full. So I think, I want to believe that this is why so many people universally have fallen for her, because I think, who doesn’t want to be like that?”
“Just keep swimming” until June 17 when you will get to follow Dory on her epic new journey.