Finding Nemo creator says Ellen DeGeneres stopped him from ‘naively’ making Dory a male fish

Patrick Kelleher June 22, 2020
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Dory Finding Nemo Andrew Stanton Ellen DeGeneres

Dory was almost a male character, its creator has revealed.

The creator of Finding Nemo has said he almost made Dory a male fish – and then he thought of Ellen DeGeneres for the role.

Andrew Stanton told the Los Angeles Times that he had “this really dumb, male, naive view that the guide that should take the father through should be a male fish”.

But the original idea was not working out – and then he came across DeGeneres when his wife was watching her on television.

“I heard [DeGeneres] change the sentence – the subject of a sentence – five times before she got from beginning to the end,” Stanton said.

“And a light bulb went off that was an appealing, progressive way to be able to do short-term memory that wouldn’t get old really quick.”

Finding Nemo creator couldn’t get Ellen DeGeneres’ voice out of his head once he heard her on television.

Stanton said he couldn’t get DeGeneres’ voice out of his head.

“Suddenly all the writer’s block I had just unloaded. And then I started to think, ‘Well, why not? Why can’t it be a female? And why can’t it be a platonic relationship?'”

Stanton also spoke about the father-son relationship at the heart of the animated classic – and said it was inspired by his own experience.

“I was at this place where I was a father of a newborn, but my dad was still very much alive and very healthy,” he said.

“And I felt like I was in the middle of a telescope. I could see back in time, as equally as I could see forward in time, to being a son and a father.

Suddenly all the writer’s block I had just unloaded. And then I started to think, ‘Well, why not? Why can’t it be a female?’

“That’s always the best place to be as a writer. You almost are compelled to try to express this thing you’re going through.”

The character of Dory is like a “surrogate child” to Nemo’s father Marlin and exists to help him evolve as a parent, Stanton said.

He said the introduction of Dory to Finding Nemo helped it become “a deep movie that we could really, really take advantage of”.

More: Andrew Stanton, Disney, dory, Ellen DeGeneres, finding dory, finding nemo, pixar

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