“He saw her as a tragic character”
USA - All Pixar movies are beloved. But even by Pixar standards, Finding Nemo is a favorite. Until the release of Toy Story 3 in 2010, it was the highest-grossing Pixar movie of all time in the United States. It also broke the record for dvd sales in just two weeks and is generally a staple in any childhood home.
The stakes were definitely high when making the sequel, 2016’s Finding Dory. Pixar enlisted Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane, to direct. Stanton’s list of bona fides at Pixar are long: he directed the original Finding Nemo, Wall-E, and co-directed A Bug’s Life.
MacLane himself has been with Pixar for two decades. He first worked on the 1997 short Geri’s Game as an animator and worked his way up to directing short films. Dory was the first full-length feature he directed.
As a way of honoring Finding Nemo and making sure they got every detail right, Stanton was constantly watching the movie while working on the sequel.
“He always had ‘Nemo’ on his phone, at a moment’s notice, to reference,” MacLane told INSIDER. “He had an idea about how the characters were, and he always had a different idea of how the characters were than almost everyone else.”
The storyline for Finding Dory formed when Stanton had a revelation that he understood Dory differently from everyone else. He wanted to show the world the hidden dimensions of Dory’s character in a new movie. “He saw her as a tragic character,” MacLane said. “She would always apologize because she felt that she was constantly inconveniencing people with her short term memory loss.”
MacLane was the perfect person at Pixar to highlight Dory’s character along with Stanton. The two had become close while working on Wall-E, for which MacLane was the directing animator. Earlier in MacLane’s career, he saw Stanton as his mentor. “He would say he learned to make movies by sitting next to (Pixar founder John Lasseter), when John was making the first films,” MacLane said. “So for him, the best way to learn the most you can about directing a film is by being mentored. And Andrew has just been a fantastic mentor to me on this film and other films we’ve worked on together.”