Getting To Know Finding Dory’s Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence

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FINDING DORY - Pictured (L-R): One year after his big overseas adventure, NEMO (voice of Hayden Rolence) is back to being a normal kid: going to school and living on the coral reef with his dad and their blue tang neighbor, Dory. His harrowing adventure abroad doesn’t seem to have sapped his spirit. In fact, when Dory remembers pieces of her past and longs to take off on an ambitious ocean trek to find her family, Nemo is the first to offer his help. He may be a young clownfish with a lucky fin, but Nemo wholeheartedly believes in Dory. After all, he understands what it’s like to be different. MARLIN (voice of Albert Brooks) may have traveled across the ocean once, but that doesn’t mean he wants to do it again. So he doesn’t exactly jump at the opportunity to accompany Dory on a mission to the California coast to track down her family. Marlin, of course, knows how it feels to lose family, and it was Dory who helped him find Nemo not so long ago. The clownfish may not be funny, but he’s loyal—he realizes he has no choice but to pack up his nervous energy and skepticism and embark on yet another adventure, this time to help his friend. ©2016 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

It took 13 years for Finding Nemo to get its sequel, Finding Dory, which shattered box office records during its opening weekend. This meant that the role of Nemo required a new voice, since Alexander Gould (the original voice actor) is now 22. Director Andrew Stanton and producer Lindsay Collins were able to find a wonderful new Nemo in Illinois.

HOLLYWOOD, CA - JUNE 08: Actor Hayden Rolence attends The World Premiere of Disney-Pixarís FINDING DORY on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney) *** Local Caption *** Hayden Rolence
HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 08: Actor Hayden Rolence attends The World Premiere of Disney-Pixar s FINDING DORY on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

“I was a very big Nemo fan, even before I knew that I was going to be it, the voice of Nemo,” says 12 year old Hayden Rolence, who felt the pressure of lending his voice to a character he and millions had loved for so long. “The biggest challenge was probably knowing that Nemo was already a character and knowing that, I wanted to do him justice.”

Albert Brooks, voice of Marlin in Finding DoryFor actor, filmaker and comedian Albert L. Brooks, who plays Marlin in both films, it was quite different. He was able to jump right into his role in twenty seconds because he had not aged in Finding Dory. “But if they’re going to make a third one, they better hurry up,” quips Albert Brooks, “because he won’t get a job and I’ll have to have a wheelchair!”

Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence from Finding DoryOn a more serious note, he was impressed by Hayden’s performance. “Hayden did a great job. That’s a tough thing,” says Albert Brooks, because he needed to sound like the original Nemo but make it sound natural and authentic. Both actors recorded their performances separately, but did get the chance to meet in person over doughnuts during their breaks on set. During the interview at The Montage hotel in Beverly Hills, you could tell Albert Brooks feels protective of Hayden.

Although Dory is the star of this movie, Marlin and Nemo do play crucial roles as their father-son relationship evolves. “It’s a different kind of relationship than the first movie. I sort of thought Marlin was a little wiser and a little warmer,” explains Brooks. Instead of panicking so much, he slowly learns to let go a bit more.

Albert Brooks, whom I have admired for years and especially in the film Broadcast News, is not a big fan of spreading messages in movies, but he does feel parents will thoroughly enjoy Finding Dory. “It’s heartwarming without being schmaltzy and I think people will be surprised that there’s more maybe more feeling than they thought.”

Did you watch Finding Dory? Were you surprised? Let me know in the comments below!

Albert Brooks and Hayden Rolence groupDisclosure: I was invited by Disney on a press trip to cover the Finding Dory premiere but this is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

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