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Ellen Degeneres Finds Dory…Again

June 15, 2016

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By: Lynn Barker

In Finding Dory, a sequel to the very successful 2003 film Finding Nemo, Nemo’s forgetful pal, a Blue Tang fish named Dory, suddenly remembers something about her past and is off on a quest to find her parents. Her pals are willing to help but will the little fishie be able to string together enough memories to lead her to her beginnings?

Why am I in an aquarium?Why am I in an aquarium?Courtesy of Disney•Pixar

As in “Nemo”, popular talk show host, comedian, actress and darn good dancer Ellen Degeneres voices Dory. For years she campaigned for a sequel to Finding Nemo, not even suggesting that it “star” Dory. Check what she has to say about memory, gay fish, family and finally seeing the movie produced.

Q: Ellen, have you battled forgetfulness in any form in your life? If so, how have you dealt with it?

  • Ellen: Well I take Ginkgo Biloba whenever I remember. I don’t understand how they tell you take medicine to remember things because you wouldn’t remember to take the medicine (laughter).  I do have a little problem with memory but not as bad as Dory does but I don’t try to do anything about it because it’s who I am and I just try to live in the moment and hold on to these few moments that I have.

Dory with Nemo's dad MarlinDory with Nemo's dad MarlinCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: There has been some talk lately about more diversity in films.. like “Give Elsa from Frozen a girlfriend. Give Captain America a boyfriend”. Some think they see a gay couple in this movie. How do you feel about that?

  • Ellen: So Elsa in Frozen is gay? Is that what you’re saying? You heard it here. I don’t know. As far as is there a gay couple in the movie, I don’t know that there is and I didn’t know anything about it until I heard this rumor. It does appear that there are two women, one has a very bad short haircut which I find very offensive (laughter). If that’s your definition of a gay woman then how dare you! (laughter). Just because someone has a short, bad haircut doesn’t mean that she’s gay. It’s just a bad haircut.
  • Anyway, I don’t know that that’s the case but I think if you see the movie several times, which I recommend, if you see it four or five times, there are some gay fish in the background that you’ll notice. A lot of them look very gay to me and it’s not obvious until you see it a few times (she is so kidding with us).

Hank and Dory face dangerHank and Dory face dangerCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: When a conversation does begin over is someone in a film gay, is that a good or bad thing?

  • Ellen: I personally think it’s a great thing. Everything that we see in the media should represent what’s happening in the world. I think everybody that is in the world should be seen and represented so yes it’s a great conversation and whether they intended it to be a woman with a bad short haircut being gay or not I think it’s a great thing.

Q: Haven’t you been campaigning for a sequel to Finding Nemo for years?

  • Ellen: Thank God I had a talk show to talk about it. I had a platform. It just seemed like it was obvious. The film was an iconic film. It won an Academy award. I was a small part of it. I wasn’t campaigning to have a sequel for Dory, just a sequel to a great movie and when it didn’t happen for five or six years I just decided to make a joke of it. Then, the joke became a reality and it became about Dory’s parents so again I’m responsible for every single thing that happens from now on.

Ellen Degeneres voices DoryEllen Degeneres voices DoryCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: What trait of Dory’s would you love to have?

  • Ellen: I would love to have every trait of Dory’s; optimism and perseverance and non-judgement and not having any resentment or holding onto anger. She doesn’t feel like a victim. I think that’s why she’s such a lovable character because she just thinks everything is possible and she never, for a second thinks that anything’s wrong with anybody else or herself. She just keeps swimming. I think that’s a great thing.

Dory lost and afraidDory lost and afraidCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: What were your thoughts at the time when you were Dory in the first movie about her short term memory loss? Did you feel sorry for her?

  • Ellen: I actually don’t think it is tragic. You can look at it that way but as you see in the film now, what appears to be a disability is her strength and it turns into what would Dory do? So, what appears to be a disability is actually something we can look at in another way and say “That’s a different way of thinking and it’s a good way of thinking”. I love that message in it that something that seems to be a handicap is something you can use as a strength.

Dory with Marlin and NemoDory with Marlin and NemoCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: Cool. A slogan for Dory is “Just Keep Swimming”. She can just make you cry in some scenes. Is that unusual for a cartoon film?

  • Ellen: I think it’s so much more than a cartoon movie. It’s much more complex and layered than any of us thought it would be. It is a very personal story for Dory and it is emotional so it was very easy for me to cry. It was emotional and really sad. Anything that Dory was going through had feeling.
  • These are the same feelings we all have and it does show the power of these animators how they make it so beautiful and realistic and you do get emotional and you do cry at a fish. I couldn’t read the lines and pretend to sniffle and pretend to get emotional. We all cry. It really is a beautiful story. It was fun and challenging to get that emotional with just your voice and no body language to attach to that. I think it’s a credit to the writing as well.

Dory watching a school of raysDory watching a school of raysCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: Did you feel a connection to Dory from the beginning?

  • Ellen: Well I think everybody is searching for their home. I understand what a sense of belonging is. I understand when you say “Why am I who I am? Where did I come from and how did I end up where I am?” So yeah, I can relate to that. I think everybody can.

Q: Marlin is very analytical about a problem and Dory just goes with the flow. Which are you?

  • Ellen: Both. I do both. It just depends on the situation. I do analyze. I look around. I kind of observe and analyze all kinds of things. I try not to do anything irresponsible but I do also like to be spontaneous and sometimes take chances.

Bailey the beluga and Destiny the shark with DoryBailey the beluga and Destiny the shark with DoryCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: What did you learn from watching fish in an aquarium? Just fish in a glass cage?

  • Ellen: The honest answer is I really didn’t do any research (by watching fish).  I really care about and have always cared about nature and our planet and the environment and I think it’s important to protect our oceans and our fishes in the oceans and the coral reefs and everything because it’s a beautiful world that we know very little about and I think there are all kinds of things we can learn so it’s really important to protect our oceans.

Q: Was the director trying to make Dory look like you?

  • Ellen: Someone has said she does look like me. I don’t see it personally but as I’m talking they’re filming the entire time to get my facial expressions and what I’m doing so that’s how they come up with the look for the fish. I don’t see it but okay.

Dory with Mr. Ray and classDory with Mr. Ray and classCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Q: If you met your younger, childhood self, what would you tell her?

  • Ellen: I would tell that six-year-old that life is a very interesting journey and that it is filled with surprises and sometimes the surprises are good and sometimes they are bad but they’re all good because even the bad ones get you ready for something else and they build another part of you that you wouldn’t have inside of you without them. If we’re just made up of joy and love and only good things happen to us, we’d be a little less layered. I would tell that to a six-year-old. Just take everything in and embrace the bad with the good and just keep swimming. 

Finding Dory PosterFinding Dory PosterCourtesy of Disney•Pixar

Finding Dory is in theaters Friday June 17th!

 

Have Your Say

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