When watching Finding Dory, audiences around the world are melting at baby Dory’s cuteness and how her parents tried their best to help her navigate the world despite her short-term memory loss. Eugene Levy is no stranger to playing father roles (who can forget American Pie?) but this time he’s even warmer and funnier as Charlie.
“The character was written to be kind of a bit of a jokester in a dad kind of way,” says Levy, “which is not necessarily really funny but thinking he’s really funny; sometimes embarrassingly funny.”
I got the chance to meet and interview him during my recent trip to Los Angeles for the Finding Dory world premiere. Here are a few fun facts I learned about the movies, its cast and its crew during our conversation.
- He recorded his part almost entirely on his own. “These sessions usually are like three hours and you get five sessions maybe over two and a half, three years, and it’s just going over every line and giving the director as many options as you can on every line.”
- Eugene Levy was a bit star struck by Diane Keaton, who plays Jenny, Dory’s mom. “ I did have one session that I worked with Diane and we were in two different cities. I was in Toronto. She was in Los Angeles and they hooked up cameras so that I could see her on a monitor in my studio and she could see me on a monitor in her studio and we were able to do the scene together,” recalls Levy. “I was kind of mesmerized by just watching her on the monitor working,” says Eugene. “I was very aware that it was Diane Keaton behind the mic and I’m just fascinated, just watching the way she was working behind the microphone and then I’d have to go oh, yeah, I’ve got a line here, yeah.”
- He jokes that director Andrew Stanton is also a great psychiatrist. “He laughs at lot, which makes you feel good and kind of gives you the confidence to go on and and give him more things,” says Levy.
- He believes Finding Dory is a great movie because it manages to convey so much . “You have all these emotions kind of snowballing through the movie,” explains Levy. “You’re kind of laughing and crying and feeling and touching, and it’s great. It really is.”
- He stuck to the script. “It’s not like you can just go in there and start playing around with the script. They work very hard on putting together a great script so there’s nothing you necessarily need to be improvising,” says Eugene Levy.
- His favorite character is the one stealing everybody’s hearts. “I have to say the little Dory is my favorite character because when I first heard that voice, I honestly I got so emotional.”
- Even he was surprised by all the twists and turns when he saw the finalized version of Finding Dory. “It turns into an action movie at some point and it’s so incredibly real,” he adds. “It’s just incredible animation but that was the thing. The story just — it just keeps going and going and going and just picks up energy and picks up pace and wow, you get caught up in it.
In case you still haven’t seen Finding Dory, here is one of my favorite scenes, where you will meet baby Dory and her parents. Don’t worry: I’m not spoiling anything for you!
Disclosure: I was invited by Disney on a press trip for the world premiere of Finding Dory but I did not receive any compensation for my posts.