Can you believe it? It’s been 13 years since that absentminded Blue Tang, Dory swam on screen and into our lives and hearts. It’s about time, right? I’m pretty sure Ellen thinks it’s about time too. 😉 The familiar characters of Finding Nemo that we have all fallen in love with: Nemo, Marlin & Dory are all back in true Disney*Pixar fashion along with plenty of new friends that you will love just as much. I was lucky enough to get to attend the Finding Dory press junket held in Beverly Hills, California as a guest of Disney. It was truly an unforgettable experience sitting right across from Ellen and just feet away from such an amazing cast!
Making waves in theaters starting this Friday, June 17, this much awaited movie picks up where Finding Nemo left off, starting about a year later with Dory, the fish with “short term remembery loss.”
So, have you seen her? We actually got to see her as we entered the room for the press junket. You couldn’t miss her! She was right in the center of the room.
The Amazing Talent in Attendance Included:
· Ellen DeGeneres (voice of “Dory”)
· Ed O’Neill (voice of “Hank”)
· Ty Burrell (voice of “Bailey”)
· Kaitlin Olson (voice of “Destiny”)
· Albert Brooks (voice of “Marlin”)
· Eugene Levy (voice of “Charlie”)
· Hayden Rolence (voice of “Nemo”)
· Director Andrew Stanton
· Producer Lindsey Collins
Director Andrew Stanton and Producer Lindsey Collins came out to chat with us first. Creating Finding Dory took them a very laborious four years to create but was a labor of love and a true passion project for them. Stanton said it all started one morning when “he woke up one day worried about Dory” and that’s how he got started with creating Finding Dory, but the hold up then was having the right story to tell. He realized 13 years in between films is a crazy amount of time so he wanted to be sure to create a stand along film that was not reliant on history.
Next we met the rest of the very talented cast where Ellen’s presence was at the center of it all. In true Ellen fashion she had us all laughing and wishing we could sit down and chat with her one on one or maybe even dance with her (as we heard later some other very lucky writers got to dance with her!!). You’ll notice the many faces of Ellen below, one moment she shares something so profound and serious, it really makes you think, then the next second she says something to have you laughing in tears. All in good-natured fun though. She is definitely a genuinely nice person with an amazing heart.
Fun facts from the press conference!
*Hankhad a very bad experience in the ocean where he lost a tentacle, which is why he does not want to go back.
*If Ellen could have any of Dory’s traits she would want to have as many traits as she has. “As far as optimism and perseverance, non-judgment. Not having any resentment or holding on to anger. She doesn’t feel like a victim, and I think that’s why she is such a lovable character. She just thinks everything is possible. She doesn’t think there is anything wrong with anyone else. She just keeps swimming. I’d like to have all of those traits.”
The Finest Hours recounts the days leading up to the harrowing event that takes place on February 18, 1952. It’s a griping tale that is led by a solid cast of actors led by Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Casey Affleck and Holliday Grainger. Recently I had the opportunity to meet with them, as well as the director to get the inside scoop on The Finest Hours.
A heroic action thriller, “The Finest Hours” is the remarkable true story of the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history. On February 18,1952, a massive nor’easter struck New England, pummeling towns along the Eastern seaboard and wreaking havoc on the ships caught in its deadly path, including the SS Pendleton, a T-2 oil tanker bound for Boston, which was literally ripped in half, trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly sinking stern. As the senior officer on board, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) soon realizes it is up to him to take charge of the frightened crew and inspire the men to set aside their differences and work together to ride out one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast. Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard led by Coast Guard Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) sets out to rescue the stranded men.
The Finest Hours weaves together three different storylines. There is the storyline between Bernie and Miriam, played by British actress Holliday Grainger. Then you have the compelling story on the boat and lastly, you see Coast Guard try to rescue the men. When I sat down to meet the actors who played these true-life characters, I had to ask “What drew you to the film?”
Chris: This was a great script and a really interesting character. I love stories that are not all that complicated but that are really well told.
Ben: I was so taken by this script because it wasn’t overwritten. It was a beautiful, concise and simple story. The dialogue felt very true and lived in.
Holliday: The story. I hadn’t heard it before and I found it fascinating. It’s such a huge adventure and it was great to be a part of telling it.
Have you ever thought what it would be like if Dinosaurs roamed the earth alongside us humans? Well, Disney/Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” asks this very question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes us on a wild epic journey, straight into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend named Spot. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of. “The Good Dinosaur” is very unique in many ways, it’s not like other Disney/Pixar films. Here to tell us some special facts about the film, we have the cast and creators to share with us how “The Good Dinosaur” came to life.
“The Good Dinosaur” had a very rough beginning. Originally the film had been in production with a different team for many years. It was shut down in October of 2013 because the story was not going in the direction that it needed to go. Then Peter Sohn came on board and helped to get the film moving in the right direction alongside Denise Ream in December 2013, begining with research. Peter Sohn suggested, “Let’s plan a trip. And Denise was like, “Let’s get lost out there, and let’s just do what we started with this project Let’s go out there.” The team then went to Wyoming, where they began to discover the beauty as well as the dangers of the region, and became inspired to write the story.
Pixar is known for planting numerous Easter Eggs in their films and “The Good Dinosaur” is no different. Peter Sohn told us that there are some Easter eggs such as the Pizza Planet Truck, A-113, and Dory. There are more, so keep a watchful eye out for them! 😉
Next we met with Jeffrey Wright (voice of Poppa) & RaymondOchoa (Voice of Arlo) who also had lots of fun information for us.
3) A lot of Research
Raymond Ochoa did a lot of research for his role as Arlo. He credits his parents for all of their help. “I have great parents and they are so helpful in everything I do, so when I knew that I was an apatosaurus, they helped me on what it actually was.They helped me Google stuff.They helped me Google facts and good things about what it actually looked like, because I had no idea what it looked like.I didn’t know what an apatosaurus was at the time, and I looked it up.I was like, “Wow, okay.”I saw a picture of it, and I was like,“This dinosaur doesn’t look that mean.”But, you know, it doesn’t look kid-friendly at the same time either. If you saw that thing walking around, you’d be scared of it. I think that was what really helped me get the part was because I did go in with the understanding of what it actually was, rather than an average person who just says lines in front of a thing and being like, “okay, let’s send it over.”
4) A Love for Pixar
Jeffery Wright and his family have a deep love for Pixar. “I live vicariously through these things with my children, it was intensely exciting for me because it was so for them. It was beyond the popularity of the movies and, the prominence that they have for kids my kids’ age and Raymond’s age now, they are really good stories.It’s really become, seriously well-considered storytelling. The themes of this one, which are so universal and fairly obvious around parenthood and family and love and responsibility and nurturing, all of these things are so resonant, so that’s really very gratifying to be a part of.On top of that, it makes me — you know, Hunger Games went a long way in this regard, but now a Pixar movie makes me even that much cooler with the kids, my kids, and their friends at school, so that’s always advantageous.
Last for “The Good Dinosaur we got to chat with Sam Elliott (voice of “Butch”), Anna Paquin (voice of “Ramsey”) & AJ Buckley (voice of “Nash”)
5) They Didn’t Work Together
We found out that they didn’t rehearse together. At all. They had not all gotten to meet in person until that day at the press junket! AJ Buckley told us, “That’s the crazy part, none of us actually , worked together. Until this morning, it was the first time we’d met.I was the last person cast.I didn’t hear their voices in the scene.Just heard sort of where — you know, a scene here and a scene there, and it wasn’t mixed yet. That’s how Peter, how he took — he was very, very specific, if it wasn’t for Peter and his ability to walk us into a room with an empty canvas and tell us exactly what it was going to look like, that and more. That’s an enormous compliment to the entire process.
6)Landing a Kid Friendly Role
Anna Paquin usually does not have kid friendly roles, so she was overjoyed to learn that Pixar wanted to work with her. The coolness factor? “I won’t know till the movie comes out, ’cause then the real cool points will start racking up.I mean, aside from the fact that I’d always loved Pixar, and had been sort of trying to figure out how to get ’em to want to hire me, and then it kind of just happened, I was like, “That’s really cool and awesome, and sort of spooky.” It definitely gives me good street cred as a mom, you know? Just like, “My mom’s a T-Rex.What’s your mom’s superpower?”
7) Character Similarities
You might notice that some of the characters in the film have the features of those voicing them. You will see that Sam Elliott’s character, “Butch” who is a T-Rex with an overbite that looks like his moustache and other prominent facial features.