Sigourney Weaver's weirdest role almost didn't make the cut

By Emily Yahr

Actor steals show in Finding Nemo sequel.

Finding Dory brings back a lot of familiar faces from Finding Nemo - but if you've seen the movie, you'll know some of the newer characters steal the show.

One such character doesn't even have a face - she's just a disembodied voice. As the fish travel to the Marine Life Institute, "the jewel of Morrow Bay, California", to find Dory's parents, they're welcomed by "Hello, I'm Sigourney Weaver".

Weaver's voice booms through the movies at the most unexpected times, and is a running joke through the whole film, especially considering that all the animals (including Dory and the sea lions) come to consider Weaver their pal.

Ed O'Neill plays Hank, the grouchy octopus (left), another favourite new character. Picture / AP
Ed O'Neill plays Hank, the grouchy octopus (left), another favourite new character. Picture / AP

But how did Weaver end up in the film? "Yeah, it's just so specific," Director Andrew Stanton laughed when asked the question. He pointed out that Weaver is the "default voice" for nature footage, as she can be heard in Planet Earth and at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco during a planetarium show.

"It just cracked us up."

In fact, Stanton said, he thought the Weaver bit would be axed because it was so weird. But she just kept getting a bigger and bigger role. Eventually, when it became clear that it was actually going to make the final cut, he had to hurry and ask Weaver if she could actually voice the part.

Luckily, the two knew each other already from her role in Stanton's Wall-E and she said yes.

"God bless her, she was really in on the joke. She just thought it was a hoot that she could play herself. It kind of gets funnier each time it's said," Stanton said.

Meanwhile, Ed O'Neill (Married ... With Children and Modern Family) also becomes a favorite as Hank, the grouchy octopus who just wants to be transported to the Cleveland aquarium where annoying children won't bother him.

He was Stanton's first choice to voice the character.

"Without visuals, Ed still sounds like this gruff curmudgeon you can sense still has a heart of gold and is soft on the underbelly. And that's what I needed for Hank.

"One of the real perks when you're doing a sequel to a hit movie is all the agents return your phone calls," Stanton joked. "So all my first choices are pretty much who you hear in the cast."

- Washington Post

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