'Cause we were like, "woaaaah.", and I was like, "woaaaah." and you were like, "woaaahh..."
-Crush, Finding Nemo
Facts via IMDB
1/25. Squirt the sea turtle is voiced by Nicholas Bird, the young son of Pixar director Brad Bird. Director Andrew Stanton was inspired to cast Nicholas when Brad Bird was showing home movies around the Pixar offices.
2/25. Animators studied dogs' facial expressions, paying particular attention to the eyes, to animate the expression of the fish.
3/25. Film makers were worried that comedian Ellen DeGeneres would not be able to perform the dramatic scene where Dory begs Marlin not to leave, so, at the end of a day of recording other scenes, they asked her to record a trial reading of the scene, with the intention that she go home with a recording of it to work on her actual performance. DeGeneres agreed, but her trial reading was so heartfelt and emotional that (apart from a few small edits) this is what was used in the final cut of the film.
4/25. The great white shark's name in the movie was Bruce. "Bruce" was the nickname given to the models used for the shark in the original Jaws (1975), named after Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Ramer. Before Barry Humphries was cast, many other Australian actors were considered for the part. They include John Jarrett, Ray Meagher, Ross Higgins, Peter Moon, Glenn Robbins, Russell Gilbert, Jamie Dunn, Bert Newton, Mark Mitchell, Paul Hogan, Bryan Brown, Michael Veitch and Kim Gyngell.
5/25. Pixar's characters are often planned years in advance. Nemo first appeared as a stuffed toy on a couch in Boo's room in Monsters, Inc. (2001). Finding Nemo introduces the main characters of post-2003 Pixar films. A boy in the dentist's office is reading a "Mr. Incredible" comic book, anticipating The Incredibles (2004). Luigi the car is driving by the dentist's office, anticipating Cars (2006).
6/25. This movie surpassed The Lion King (1994) to become the highest-grossing animated film at that time. The Lion King (1994) producer Don Hahn called director Andrew Stanton to congratulate him and said, "It's about time."
7/25. Director Andrew Stanton did the voice of Crush the sea turtle. Stanton never intended to do the voice of Crush, only providing the voice for the film's rough cut, but when it proved popular in test screenings, he decided to do it for the final film. Stanton recorded all of Crush's dialogue lying on his couch in his office.
8/25. Pixar developed a very realistic look of the surface water, but had to make it look more fake so people wouldn't think it was real footage of the ocean surface.
Continue to the next page for more fun behind-the-scenes tales from Finding Nemo.
10/25. For the jellyfish sequence, Pixar's Ocean Unit created an entire new system of shading which they called "transblurrency," see-through but blurred, much like a frosted bathroom window.
11/25. The look and feel of the underwater world was essential to the film's success. To that end, the production crew were all exposed to visits to aquariums, diving stints in Monterey and Hawaii, study sessions in front of Pixar's own 25-gallon fish tank and even a series of in-house lectures from an ichthyologist.
12/25. Director Andrew Stanton originally planned to reveal the fate of Marlin's wife gradually through flashbacks, seen periodically as the story unfolded. After a few early in-house screenings, he found that Marlin came off as too much of a worrywart, and decided to reveal the entire back-story up front, thus making Marlin more appealing by establishing the reason for his over-protectiveness.
13/25. Nemo's father Marlin was originally voiced by William H. Macy. According to James Stewart's book "DisneyWar," it was after seeing an early cut of the film with Macy's voice that then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner infamously told his board of directors, "This will be a reality check for those guys...It's OK, but nowhere near as good as their previous films. Of course, they think it's great. Trust me, it's not." Director Andrew Stanton recast the role of Marlin with Albert Brooks, and the film went on to get some of Pixar's best reviews ever and become the highest-grossing animated film of all-time.
14/25. Rendering a frame, which lasted about 1/24th of a second, in the film, could take up to four days because of the complexity of the underwater environment, with sunlight coming through the water and hitting fish scales.
15/25. In order for it to sound like Nigel had Marlin and Dory in his mouth, voice actor Geoffrey Rush held onto his tongue as he said his lines.
16/25. Pixar's characters are often planned years in advance. Nemo first appeared as a stuffed toy on a couch in Boo's room in Monsters, Inc. (2001). This movie introduces the main characters of post-2003 Pixar films. A boy in the dentist's office is reading a "Mr. Incredible" comic book, anticipating The Incredibles (2004). Luigi the car is driving by the dentist's office, anticipating Cars (2006).
17/25. When Gil is thinking ahead about how he and the fish will escape, as the camera pans toward and out the window, the Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story (1995) can be seen on the outside.
18/25. Albert Brooks was always Andrew Stanton's first choice to voice the part of Marlin. Although Brooks had done several episodes of The Simpsons (1989), he found voice work for a feature length cartoon to be substantially different in that he had to do it in isolation, and not alongside any other actors. He didn't particularly enjoy the experience.
Continue to the next page for more behind-the-scenes stories from Finding Nemo.
19/25. Per the DVD extras, Albert Brooks spent an entire day in the recording studio improvising badly mangled versions of the anemone joke; no two tellings were fumbled in the same way. He had the recording technicians in stitches for the duration.
20/25. Though never mentioned in the film, it is revealed by the directors in the commentary that Crush and his crew of thrill-seeking turtles are headed for Hawaii. Also mentioned in the commentary is that the young turtles' shells are modeled after Hawaiian shirts.
21/25. Demand for tropical fish exploded right after the film's release, especially for clown fish and blue tang, the main characters' species. And just like Darla, many new pet buyers had no idea how to take care of their pets and ended up killing them. It was later revealed that saltwater tropical fish need a 30-gallon aquarium with carefully controlled salinity levels, as anything less will kill them. The rise in demand took fish importers by surprise and the population of clown fish dropped to 75 percent in some areas.
22/25. As "research," the key figures of the production crew had to get SCUBA certification and go to the Great Barrier Reef, on the insistence of John Lasseter.
23/25. The dentist's camera's model number is A-113, a number which appears in all Pixar movies as a reference to the California Arts University room, where the animators of Pixar Studios attend.
24/25. Jacques' character is partly based on actor Fritz Feld, whose trademark was to "pop" his mouth by slapping it with the palm of his hand to indicate his "superior" annoyance.
25/25. Andrew Stanton pitched his idea and story to Pixar head John Lasseter in an hour-long session, using elaborate visual aids and character voices. At the end of it, an exhausted Stanton asked Lasseter what he thought, to which Lasseter replied, "You had me at 'fish.'"