Almost a decade after the story of a lost little clown fish and the overprotective father who’s determined to find him, the voice actors who brought the undersea world to life are still thrilled “Finding Nemo” found them.
At the premiere of the newly re-crafted “Finding Nemo 3D,” which renders Nemo, Marlin and Dory’s epic adventure in stunning three dimension, NBC revisited a quartet of actors who lent their vocal talents to what remains one of Pixar and Disney’s most beloved films.
Willem DaFoe – Gill, the Moorish Idol fish
Then: An Oscar-nominated actor known for roles in films like “Platoon,” hot off his recent success as the Green Goblin in “Spider-Man.”
Now: Recently reunited with “Nemo” director Andrew Santon for “John Carter”
Finding the right fishy mindset: “Before I made this movie I made a movie called 'Animal Factory,' a very small movie based on an Edward Bunker novel. It was a prison movie, and I think that was my preparation for this. It's true! That's what's beautiful about Pixar: there's a whole range of humanity in the world that they have. Just because they're fish or they're toys, or whatever, you have a full range of people presented.”
In-the-moment memory: “I think by the time I was asked to do this, when they said, 'It's Pixar,' I said, 'Fantastic!’ I had seen enough Pixar movies and had heard about how they worked, and so it was really thrilling to be asked. And then once I started working, I wasn't wrong. My expectations were met and then surpassed. That sounds kind of Pollyanna, but they're really incredible people, and I think it's common, it's well known that they really have a lot of artistic integrity. But at the same time they're commercially viable, so that's a very rare combination.”
Vicki Lewis – Deb & Flo the Damselfish
Then: Best known as Beth on the sitcom “NewsRadio.”
Now: A recurring guest on “How I Met Your Mother” and the voice of Wonder Woman on “Batman: Brave and the Bold.”
Watching the film for the first time: “When I went to the screening, I thought, 'Oh!' I was pleasantly surprised because I thought, 'Well, this is a kids’ movie,' and I had done my session and my lines were fun and kooky and I saw the fish, but I didn't see anything else. So when I came to the premiere I was blown away, to be honest. I had no idea that we were making a movie that was so gorgeous and for adults, as well as children, and that would move me to tears and that I would laugh out loud at. I just had no idea.”
Erica Beck – Pearl the young octopus
Then: A nine-year-old voice actress.
Now: A college junior with her eye on future acting gigs.
In-the-moment memory: “It was just kind of like a whirlwind. I didn't even know that I had gotten it, and then I just went and started doing it and it was just such a great experience. It was so much fun. I remember them letting me have fun and freedom, and I think that's why people remember my character even though it's just at the beginning.”
Watching the film as a kid: “It was crazy because the only time I'd seen my character I was, like, purple. I didn't look like my character that's in the movie, and so it was really eye-opening. And all the water around it – it's just amazing, an out of body experience.”
Bruce Spence – Chum the Mako Shark
Then: An Australian character actor venturing into Hollywood.
Now: A veteran of lavish film productions including “The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King,” “Star Wars Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” and “Peter Pan.”
In-the-moment memory: “It came out of the blue for me. Andrew Stanton had decided that a lot of the substantial part of the film was set on the Australian Great Barrier Reef, so they decided to cast Australians in those roles. Because Andrew was very familiar with my work I was fortunate enough to be cast as Chum. And I had absolutely no inkling just how popular this film would be!”
Legacy: “It's a very positive film, and that's one of the reasons I think kids like to see it: it gives them a sort of a positive look at the future. It shows them that you can persevere and if you keep going, if you keep hoping for the best, then you'll get there. You'll get out of whatever situation no matter how dark or however formidable your situation might be - and equally for the parents!