When Ellen DeGeneres first voiced Dory in Finding Nemo, she had yet to launch the US talkshow that catapulted her to a whole new level of global fame. But she had always wanted to return to the role – and with Finding Dory, she gets the chance to swim centre stage.
“It’s amazing to me that Dory has resonated with people so much,” says Ellen DeGeneres, who lends her voice to the funny regal tang fish in the latest Disney animated blockbuster. “Dory was such a big part of Finding Nemo that it makes sense that people might wonder about her journey. We want to see how it worked out for her: are Marlin and Nemo her family now? Does she have a family and will she ever remember them?”
Of course, these days the comedienne is probably better known for The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which went to air a few months after Finding Nemo and has since grown into a hugely popular chatshow that’s broadcast globally.
However, DeGeneres never gave up on the idea of reprising the role, so she was delighted when much of the old team reunited for the hit sequel Finding Dory.
“I was campaigning for a sequel to Finding Nemo for 13 years,” she jokes, “But I never imagined it would be Finding Dory. So that was the real surprise when I finally got the call.”
Finding Dory finds the titular character living happily in the reef with Marlin and Nemo about a year after their life-changing adventure. However, when Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may actually be looking for her, she recruits Marlin and Nemo for a life-changing journey across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation centre/aquarium.
The film reunited DeGeneres and Albert Brooks as Marlin with Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton, who helms the sequel with Angus MacLane (Toy Story of Terror!). New additions to the cast include Modern Family stars Ed O’Neill and Ty Burrell, and Eugene Levy and Diane Keaton as Dory’s parents.
The new story features a deeper side of the ever optimistic fish, challenging DeGeneres to showcase a wide range of emotion. “Doing an animated film is really fun,” she says. “But it can be difficult because every emotion has to come from your voice. You can’t pretend to cry, because that just sounds like you’re pretending to cry. So it’s all real – real conversations, real emotion.
“It’s a story about family,” DeGeneres continues. “It’s about finding the courage to do something she’s always wanted to do — even if she couldn’t remember she wanted to do it.”
Finding Dory is out on DVD & Blu-ray on November 16.