Phase9 Entertainment

FINDING NEMO - Q&A with director Andrew Stanton

Movie Interview by Neils Hesse

PHASE9 meets Andrew Stanton, the director of Pixar Animation Studios' latest release FINDING NEMO at the London press conference.

Why the dark element at the beginning?

Well it was not intentional but we realized that it set the tone for Marlin's character. It provided empathy for the character as otherwise he would have come across as simply being annoying.

How do you feel about the box office receipts for the film?

Very heartening and surprising as we expected a smaller audience for the tone of this movie.

Did you feel a lot of pressure as this is your first full-length Pixar film that you have helmed?

Yes there were a lot of expectations for this project as there always are now for Pixar projects. But at the end of the day we aim to make a film for the family to enjoy.

Was it a dream cast?

Yes it was as it is now very easy for us to get our first choices due to our good history, so our cast was more or less exactly the way that we wanted it to be.

How do you cast your voices?

We have a private casting couch where we set soundbites of the actors dialogue against pictures of the character. This can be quite interesting as once you remove the actor and are left with only a voice it takes a little extra something to provide gravitas to the character.

Do you pick stories specifically for CGI benefits?

Well the story has to be good, period, but it has to be something that can be exploited by CGI. With FINDING NEMO the whole underwater world is a perfect arena for the use of CGI.

Why Australia?

Well laziness really, I do not know much about fish but I wanted an area of the ocean that offered variety and the Great Barrier Reef offered all the characters/species that I was interested in. Also Sydney harbour is such a modern icon that would be easily recognizable and of course I would get a free trip to Sydney.

Overall what message do you want the film to send out?

I want people to enjoy the film and go back to the cinema again. It should inspire you to go back and watch more movies, yes that would be the greatest compliment If someone told me that it had inspired them to go back and watch another movie.

How did you come up with the character of Dory?

Well there is the whole issue of a goldfish having a memory of five minutes so we thought that it would be interesting to fit that into the film and Ellen DeGeneres is perfect at that.

Why have all your Pixar movies so far had non-human characters as the central focus of the film?

Techinical problems and everybody is a critic when it comes to humans simply because everyone is human. We all have our own view of how humans should look but with animals not everyone is a specialist so they just sit back and enjoy the show. Also with CGI it offers the possibility to realize worlds that you have never seen so we try to concentrate on those.