Fans across the nations, both young and not so young, are anxiously awaiting the release of Finding Dory in theaters on June 17, 2016. The character of Dory is well-loved for her optimistic attitude and for her caring nature. But did you know that her character is actually a tragic one according to Director Andrew Stanton? The roundtable interview with him and Producer Lindsey Collins was eye-opening and sparked in me a new level of anticipation to see the film.
Andrew Stanton and Lindsey Collins — Why a Sequel was Needed
After six or seven years, Andrew decided to re-watch Finding Nemo but something began bothering him. He was worried about Dory. He thought about how she found a new home with Marlon and Nemo but how easily she could get lost and be separated from them forever.
I always meant for her to come from a tragic sense of loss. She has emotional memory. So, I knew she felt these feelings of loss all the time but couldn’t place them. I hated that that was unaddressed for her and that just kept lingering in me. Then I realized that I wanted her to be able to find her way back if she ever got lost again, you know? As well as just figure out what her past is. — Andrew Stanton.
Andrew Stanton and Lindsey Collins — Tackling a Challenging Storyline
Over the course of production, the storyline changed drastically over the four years it was in being worked on. It started as an adoption story, later resembled a sister story, and saw more revisions until the final theme was decided upon. Originally Dory’s parents had short-term memory loss as well. However, the crew found out quickly how bad of an idea that was as it caused numerous problems with the story. The basic idea went from an adoption story to a sister story to what it is now. The focus constantly had to be brought back to what Dory’s story really was and what plot lines serviced that.
That was no easy task. With Dory being such a beloved character, things could go south real fast if Dory was not portrayed right in any given scene. She’s smart, funny, and silly but could easily fall into the role of sidekick through this journey of self-discovery. Plus, that short-term memory loss makes any self-reflection or personal growth a challenge.
We had no way of tracking how Dory was kind of changing and progressing. It took us almost two years just to figure that that was the problem. She started coming across very shallow, lighthearted, and a little ditzy. — Andrew Stanton.
Andrew Stanton and Lindsey Collins — Relating to Dory
Then filmmakers realized the problem. Dory always played a supporting role as the caretaker, the one looking after everyone else’s needs.
It’s been her way of making sure that she won’t get ditched and be alone. Deep down, it’s her way of guaranteeing that she won’t be alone. She’s not conscious of that. She had to learn how to be able to like like that part of herself and trust herself for all the things that she was just trying to hide by being nice and being friendly. — Andrew Stanton.
Dory always felt the need to apologize for herself and take the blame. Her short-term memory loss even became part of her introduction to herself and it was what she thought defined her.
I think the one thing we all felt was the most important to change was her desire to always apologize for herself. She’s like, “Oh, I’m so sorry. I’m a burden. I can’t, I can’t remember anything.” So, we were hoping that by the end of the film she could introduce herself in a way that wasn’t an apology. We all have something that we feel like defines us in a way that we wish it didn’t. It could be just personality. It could be when I’m at my worst, I am this. How do we get this character who sees herself kind of through that lens to kind of stop seeing that? — Lindsey Collins.
Andrew and Lindsey said that they wanted her to see her “weakness as a superpower.” They likened it to how every child is born with a different temperament.
The thing I really learned as a parent was all I can really do is make my kids aware of the temperament they were born with. They’re maybe always going be a little impatient. They’re maybe always going to be a little rash. Or maybe they’re always going be a little bold. But all I need to do is teach them to own that, to be the first one in the room to just own what it is about them. That tends to take a lot of the sting out of those things that you tend to think maybe are off-putting at first. But, if everybody else can talk about it, then it seems to diffuse it. — Andrew Stanton.
There were a few others topics we talked about but, well, those contain some spoilers. I’ll have to share that inside info later on. 🙂
So how will Dory change through the movie? We’ll just have to wait a month and find out. I have only been able to watch the first half hour of the movie so I’m excited to see how the rest of it plays out.
Finding Dory will be in theaters June 17, 2016!
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I was invited on an all-expense paid media trip as a guest of Disney and PIXAR in honor of the Finding Dory movie. All opinions are my own.