What happened to the actors behind the fish in 'Finding Nemo'?

By Steve Persall

Times Movie Critic

Disney-Pixar's animated undersea adventure Finding Nemo returns to theaters Friday, stuffed to the gills with 3-D enhancements.

My review when the movie was released in 2003 noted: "The third time I saw Finding Nemo was as marvelous as the first. Not many films pull me into theaters that many times. Even fewer could make me laugh, jump and weep at the same material each viewing."

And now it's in 3-D? I'll be there for a fourth dip into a bottomless ocean of fun.

Finding Nemo proceeded to make nearly $340 million at domestic box offices, and won an Academy Award for best animated feature. That's only part of the story.

What about the actors behind the fish? Here's where the Hollywood tide carried the voices of lost Nemo, his desperate father Marlin and their daffy pal, Dory:

ALBERT BROOKS

Voice of Nemo's chronically worried father, Marlin

SOUNDING FISHY: Since Marlin is a clown fish, he must tell a joke: "There was this mollusk, and he walks up to this sea cucumber. Normally they don't talk, sea cucumbers, but in a joke everyone talks. … And the sea cucumber turns to the mollusk and says: 'With fronds like these, who needs anemones?' "

DID YOU KNOW? Brooks bantered with an empty chair in his stand-up comedy act 40 years before Clint Eastwood did it at the Republican National Convention.

SINK OR SWIM? After Finding Nemo, Brooks turned to Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World, a brilliant 2005 documentary ignored by post-9/11 audiences. Brooks lent his voice to The Simpsons Movie and his dry wit to Weeds, published the satirical novel 2030: The True Story of What Happens in America, and regularly cracks wise on Twitter. He'll appear next in Judd Apatow's This is 40. Last year Brooks deserved an Oscar nomination, playing a vicious mobster in Drive. After being snubbed, he channeled Sally Field in a tweet to the academy: "You don't like me. You really don't like me." SWIM.

ELLEN DEGENERES

Voice of the adorably forgetful Dory

SOUNDING FISHY: Dory's short-term memory is matched for Marlin's annoyance by her optimism: "Hey there, Mr. Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down, you know what you've got to do? (Singing) Just keep swimming ... swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim."

DID YOU KNOW? She is 15th cousin to Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, due to their ancestor Thomas Fairfax.

SINK OR SWIM? Finding Nemo was still in theaters when DeGeneres debuted her Emmy-winning daytime TV talk show, and it's still running today. No movie roles since Dory, yet DeGeneres hosted the Academy Awards in 2007. She successfully emceed the Emmys twice, soon after national disasters (9/11, Hurricane Katrina), and hosted the Grammys twice. DeGeneres married actor Portia de Rossi (The Sopranos) in 2008, enhancing her status as a role model in the struggle for gay rights. Toss in a season of judging American Idol and lucrative endorsement deals with American Express, J.C. Penney and Cover Girl. DeGeneres doesn't just SWIM she water skis.

ALEXANDER GOULD

Voice of Nemo, the little lost clown fish

SOUNDING FISHY: Gould essentially plays straight kid to an ocean of oddball characters: "Dad, you're not gonna freak out like you did at the petting zoo, are you?" Marlin replies: "Hey, that snail was about to charge!"

DID YOU KNOW? A year after Finding Nemo, Gould co-starred in a pilot for a TV reboot of the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows. The WB network turned it down, and the pilot never aired.

SINK OR SWIM? Now age 21, Gould corralled a few bit parts in family films but settled into a steady, if unspectacular television career. His most visible role is playing Mary-Louise Parker's son on the drug-dealing dramedy Weeds. (Coincidentally, Brooks briefly played Parker's father.) Gould is still young, so for now we'll consider him TREADING WATER.

Steve Persall can be reached at persall@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8365.

What happened to the actors behind the fish in 'Finding Nemo'? 09/12/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:30am]

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