8 Things You Never Knew About ‘Finding Nemo’

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Get ready to take a deep dive into one of our favorite animated films of all time!

Back in 2003, Pixar’s Finding Nemo swam into theaters and drenched audiences with hilarity. Featuring the voices of Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, and Alexander Gould, the movie tells the tale of an overprotective Clownfish, named Marlin (Brooks), who teams with a friendly blue tang fish, named Dory (DeGeneres), in a quest to find Marlin’s missing son, Nemo (Gould). The beloved animated film was both a critical and commercial success as it went on to make over $900 million dollars at the worldwide box office.

Before the highly anticipated sequel hits theaters in June, we suggest that you just keep swimming… towards these 8 fun tidbits you probably never knew from Finding Nemo!

1. A former cast member from NBC’s Will & Grace was fired from Finding Nemo.

Megan Mullally was fired from the animated classic for refusing to employ the same high-pitched voice she used when she portrayed Karen Walker on the NBC sitcom.

“I said, ‘Now, wait a minute. So you’re telling me you want this fish who lives in a fish tank in a dentist’s office to be a fictitious character from an NBC sitcom?'” Mullally told the Chicago Tribute about the role. “I mean, it just doesn’t make any sense to me.”

2. The plot of Finding Nemo was derived from a series of events in writer/director Andrew Stanton’s own life.

A trip to Marine World in 1992 sparked an idea in Stanton about capturing the sea with computer animation, but the final piece of the story clicked after he took his five-year-old son to the park.

“I was experiencing all this pent up emotion and thinking ‘I-miss-you, I-miss-you, but I spent the whole walk going, ‘Don’t touch that. Don’t do that. You’re gonna fall in there,”‘ Stanton explained to Pixar Talk. “And there was this third-party voice in my head saying ‘You’re completely wasting the entire moment that you’ve got with your son right now.’ I became obsessed with this premise that fear can deny a good father from being one. With that revelation, all the pieces fell into place and we ended up with our story.”

3. Finding Nemo was the first Pixar film to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.

Since 2003, seven additional Pixar films have won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Brave, and Inside Out). Up and Toy Story 3 were also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

4. Finding Nemo didn’t always begin with the tragedy of the barracuda attack.

The original concept of the film had a flashback storyline in which viewers would learn about the death of Coral and Nemo’s siblings as the film unfolded. According to the director’s DVD commentary, Pixar changed that idea because they wanted viewers to “understand and be connected to the overprotective nature of Marlin” right from the beginning of the film.

5. Albert Brooks wasn’t the original voice of Marlin.

William H. Macy was cast as the original Marlin and even recorded all of his dialogue for the film. Macy was eventually recast with Albert Brooks, who writer/director Andrew Stanton said saved the picture.

“[Brooks] is exactly what I needed this father character to be,” Stanton said. “You needed someone who was neurotic, over-protective but still appealing throughout. And that is one of Albert’s gifts. That he can sort of play both. Usually it’s such an off-putting thing. But he just makes it so winning.”

6. The animators from Finding Nemo were inspired by another Disney film.

While the animators looked at various Disney films that involved underwater scenes for inspiration, Stanton said Bambi left the biggest impression.

“We kept coming back to Bambi because of the way the filmmakers adhered to the real nature of how these animals moved and what their motor skills were,” Stanton said. “We thought of it as Bambi underwater.”

7. Dory was originally supposed to be a male character.

Never count out the charming allure of Ellen DeGeneres!  One faithful night, Stanton’s wife was watching DeGeneres’ old CBS sitcom The Ellen Show and the director heard Ellen change subjects five times in one sentence. He thought that was a perfect way to portray the short-term memory of Dory, and hence Dory became a girl.

8. Finding Nemo is the best-selling DVD of all time.

With over 41 million copies sold worldwide, Finding Nemo is the best-selling DVD in history. We will call our own personal DVD of Finding Nemo Squishy, and it shall be ours, and it shall be our Squishy.

What was your favorite moment from Finding Nemo?