Degeneres

Find­ing 1 3 y e A R s A f T e R s H e v O I C e d T H e A d O R A B L e d O R y I n F i n d i n g n e m o , e L L e n I s B A C K T O T e L L u s w H y w e s H O u L d A L L “j u s T K e e P s w I m m I n g ” PRO­FILE

WKND - - Hollywood - By Ian Spell­ing 24 june 2016

Find­ing Dory may be about trop­i­cal fish, but ac­cord­ing to Ellen Degeneres, just like its pre­de­ces­sor, it’s ac­tu­ally deeply hu­man.

“The mes­sage is sim­ple: Life is filled with sur­prises,” Degeneres said. “Some­times they’re good sur­prises, some­times they’re bad sur­prises, but even the bad sur­prises get you ready for some­thing else. They build an­other part of you.

“The point is that we’re all made up of dif­fer­ent things,” she con­tin­ued. “Joy and love, good and bad. We’re lay­ered. That’s why you have to take it all in and em­brace it all. And, like Dory says, ‘ You just keep swimming.’”

The beloved, mem­ory- chal­lenged blue tang is back in Find­ing Dory. This time she’s nav­i­gat­ing the ocean, and an aquatic theme park, on a quest to find her long- lost par­ents.

It’s been 13 years since Find­ing Nemo ( 2003) grossed more than $ 900 mil­lion world­wide, won an Academy Award as Best An­i­mated Pic­ture and en­deared it­self to a gen­er­a­tion of young movie- go­ers. All of which begs the ques­tion, why did

it take so long to do a se­quel?

“Ob­vi­ously I am re­spon­si­ble for ev­ery penny this film makes,” Degeneres dead­panned. “Thank God I have a talk show and I could cam­paign for this se­quel, which frankly is ex­actly what I’ve done for many years.”

That was no joke. For years Degeneres has been giv­ing gen­tle hints on her daily talk show, Ellen: The Ellen Degeneres Show, that Nemo, Mar­lin, Dory and com­pany needed an­other outing. She wanted to jump back into the Pixar pool.

“The first film was iconic and it won an Oscar,” she said, “so I started cam­paign­ing for a se­quel, but not one about Dory. I just wanted a se­quel.”

An­i­mated movies take a long time to ges­tate, though, and even a daily talk show couldn’t speed the process.

It didn’t hap­pen for three, four and then five years, Degeneres re­calls. “But I never gave up. I con­tin­ued to talk about it on my show and say, ‘ There is this one movie that re­ally, re­ally needs a se­quel.’”

Find­ing Nemo fans will re­mem­ber that Dory ( voice of Degeneres) has pretty much no short­term mem­ory. The new film re­veals that her con­di­tion led to a dev­as­tat­ing sep­a­ra­tion from her par­ents when she was still only a min­now, and she hasn’t seen her par­ents — Jenny ( voice of Diane Keaton) and Char­lie ( voice of Eugene Levy) — since then.

Since the first movie, how­ever, Dory has been all but adopted by papa fish Mar­lin ( voice of Al­bert Brooks) and young Nemo ( voice of Hayden Ro­lence).

“Dory can sur­vive in the wild,” Degeneres said, “but, thanks to her mem­ory loss, she be­lieves she al­ways needs some­one next to her or she will get lost again. It’s a strug­gle for Dory. When we meet her again, she’s al­ways apol­o­gis­ing for her­self.

“The se­quel is about Dory learn­ing how to stop apol­o­gis­ing and be true to her­self.”

Degeneres has some act­ing cred­its, but she didn’t do much re­search to recre­ate Dory.

“I didn’t stare at fish for too long,” she said. “All I know about fish is that they need wa­ter.”

She adds that she re­lates to Dory not as a fish, but as a per­son.

“I love Dory,” Degeneres said. “She has op­ti­mism, per­se­ver­ance, and is non- judg­men­tal. She doesn’t hold onto anger or re­sent­ment. She thinks ev­ery­thing is pos­si­ble, and never for a sec­ond be­lieves any­thing is wrong with any­one else or her­self. She just keeps swimming.

Some might con­sider Dory as dis­abled by her mem­ory loss, but Degeneres doesn’t see it that way. “It’s not tragic,” she said. “What ap­pears to be a dis­abil­ity is her strength. It gets to the point that she’s so op­ti­mistic that others start ask­ing, ‘ What would Dory do?’

“She has a dif­fer­ent way of think­ing and it’s a good way of think­ing, and I love that mes­sage.” In her own life, Degeneres said, she’s the po­lar op­po­site of the live- in- the­mo­ment Dory.

“I’m a nat­u­ral plan­ner,” she said. “Also, be­ing a co­me­dian, I an­a­lyse. I look around and ob­serve. I try not to do any­thing ir­re­spon- NOTH­ING FISHY HERE : Beloved talk show host Degeneres of­ten hosts per­son­al­i­ties like ( above) US pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Bernie San­ders; ( top) in­ter­act­ing with cast mem­bers from Find­ing Nemo On Ice — New York Times Syn­di­cate

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