‘Finding Dory’ Fun Facts: How Dory Learned to Speak Whale and How Hank Became a Septopus

'Finding Dory' Payoff PosterWalt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation Studios have provided us with whole new sets of ‘fun facts,’ this time in honor of Finding Dory (June 17, 2016), which you can find listed below.

Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family.

  • FAMILY TIES — Dory has found a home with Marlin and Nemo, who welcomed her into their family with open fins. Filmmakers studied the psychology of adoption to better understand how Dory might feel to be a part of an extraordinary adopted family, yet still wonder about her past. Even though Dory was already designed for Finding Nemo, filmmakers had to bring her design into current technology to use it. To achieve the specific shapes and expressions that fans would recognize as Dory, artists put images from the first movie side by side with images in production to ensure all was as it should be.
  • ALL GROWN UP — Alexander Gould, who originally voiced Nemo in 2003’s Finding Nemo is now 22, so filmmakers had to recast the character, calling on 12-year-old Hayden Rolence to voice the junior clownfish in Finding Dory. Rolence, who was cast long before recording began, was advised that he couldn’t tell anyone about the role. That proved tough for the youngster, who wanted more than anything to share the news with his grandma. Gould, who won filmmakers’ hearts 13 years ago, has a cameo of the voice of a truck driver late in the film.
  • LAUGHABLE — Comedian Albert Brooks returns to the big screen as the voice of clownfish Marlin in Finding Dory. Filmmakers say Brooks is all about improv, infusing his iconic comedy into the character. While Marlin carried a big emotional load in Finding Nemo, he’s been freed up in Finding Dory, allowing Brooks a lot more improvisational leeway this time.
  • LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN — When designers were working on Hank, the cantankerous octopus in Finding Dory, they created tapered tentacles for the cephalopod. The tentacles were modeled separately from the body, but when they tried to attach them, only seven would fit. Filmmakers later decided that it made sense that Hank would have an affliction, so they worked it into the script. Designers gave Hank 50 suckers per arm for a total of 350 suckers.
  • REUNITED — When filmmakers cast the voices of the lounging sea lions Fluke and Rudder, they decided to bring two actors from ‘The Wire’ together again, tapping Idris Elba and Dominic West.
  • VISIONARY — Destiny is a whale shark who is being cared for at the Marine Life Institute, but filmmakers weren’t initially sure what ailed her. It was Bailey, Destiny’s beluga whale neighbor, who opened their eyes — so to speak. Belugas are known for their echolocation skills — a biological sonar of sorts — that is described at the MLI as ‘The World’s Most Powerful Pair of Eye Glasses.’ Filmmakers decided that if Bailey had an enhanced sense of sight, perhaps Destiny’s was compromised. A nearsighted whale shark was born. Destiny actually taught Dory to speak whale as the pair were once ‘pipe pals’ as children at the MLI. Of course, the fact that Destiny is a whale shark — and not a whale — explains Dory’s limited understanding of the language.
  • ALL IN THE FAMILY — Becky, an offbeat, kooky loon who takes a liking to Marlin, is named after production manger Becky Neiman-Cobb, who insists there’s no resemblance.


  • 289,240,840 key animation frames were created for the film. A key animation frame defines pivotal points of motion in a sequence.
  • 25,118,559 likes on Facebook for Dory (the most of any Disney or Pixar character).
  • 103,639 total storyboards were delivered to editorial (49,651 were delivered for Toy Story 3).
  • 26,705 individual pieces of coral were placed in six sets by the sets dressing team.
  • 16,091 fish are swimming in the Open Ocean exhibit at the Marine Life Institute.
  • 11,041 rigging prims were created just for Hank’s simulation (the average character requires around 20).
  • 5,000 stingrays take part in the stingray migration.
  • 1,108 fish are in quarantine at the Marine Life Institute.
  • 746 visitors are hanging out at the Marine Life Institute.
  • 350 suckers are found on Hank: 50 suckers on each of his seven arms.
  • 319 tendrils were added to each sea anemone in the ocean.
  • 118 weeks were required of the team of technical directors who were responsible for building and articulating Hank.
  • 83 employees of the Marine Life Institute appear in the film.
  • 51 minutes of the film include crowds characters (which is more than double that of an average Pixar film).
  • 45 active stalks were added to each section of kelp in the underwater kelp forest outside of the Marine Life Institute.
  • 17 is the date in June of 2016 that Finding Dory opens in U.S. theaters.
  • 22 weeks were spent shading Hank to give him extra texture and color, as well as making it possible for him to camouflage himself. (An average character takes less than eight weeks.)
  • 13 years have passed since Finding Nemo opened.
  • 4 Oscar® nominations went to Finding Nemo. The film won best animated feature — it was the first Pixar movie to win the award.

Directed by Andrew Stanton, co-directed by Angus MacLane and produced by Lindsey Collins, Disney/Pixar’s Finding Dory swims into theaters June 17, 2016.

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