&#039Just Hold Swimming&#039: A Lesson In Fortitude From Dory And Degeneres

Thirteen years after her sidekick role in the animated undersea adventure Finding Nemo, Ellen Degeneres returns to put her forgetful fish into the lead role in Finding Dory.

Thirteen years following her sidekick role in the animated undersea adventure Obtaining Nemo, Ellen Degeneres returns to place her forgetful fish into the lead role in Finding Dory. Christopher Polk/Getty Photos for PCA hide caption

toggle caption Christopher Polk/Getty Photos for PCA

When Discovering Nemo came out in 2003, it was Dory, the plucky, forgetful, blue fish, who taught us all, in the face of adversity, to “just preserve swimming.”

Ellen Degeneres, who voiced Dory, says she was “flattered and honored and awed,” to have her legacy tied to such a determined and optimistic little fish.

Dory came along during a specifically tough time for Degeneres — “I hadn’t worked for 3 years,” she tells NPR’s Kelly McEvers.

Degeneres came out publicly as a lesbian in 1997. She had been starring in the sit-com Ellen, and her Television character came out, too. But ratings dropped and the show was canceled.

“I was being made fun of for 3 years,” Degeneres says. “I was becoming attacked for becoming gay, and nobody would hire me and so I was out of cash. It was not even the money — I mean, that is important but — it was just … all of a sudden not getting validated as a comedian or as an intelligent woman just because I shared an aspect of my life.”

Degeneres talks with McEvers about how she got through that hard time, and about the new film Discovering Dory, in which her character is no longer a sidekick.


Interview Highlights

On her encounter coming out

It just validated what everybody’s worry was. It really is like, you just stay quiet, you have a profession and you will be fine. I just did not want to keep quiet and it turned me into a political lightning rod. I just never ever wanted to be political. I wanted to let go of shame and let go of any kind of heaviness I was carrying around.

On enduring challenging instances

No one desires poor factors to take place to them, but … I appear [back] at that now and specially that low point, and … I am absolutely nothing but grateful for it. Due to the fact it gave me layers that I wouldn’t have had.

I know what it feels like to be made exciting of, I know what it feels like to be beaten up, I know what it feels like to have every little thing and then drop almost everything and then gradually try to build back up. … So I have compassion for men and women and I want to be a champion for victims of bullying or victims of some type of judgement or hate.

On how Discovering Nemo located her

I had no notion how a huge of a deal it would be. I wasn’t as familiar with all the Pixar films and what a cool issue this was going to be. But [writer and director] Andrew [Stanton] referred to as and I did know who he was. …. He stated, “I wrote this element with you in mind — there is a fish and she has brief term memory loss. I heard your voice.”

Dory and friends go in search of her family in the new film Finding Dory.

Dory and friends go in search of her family in the new film Obtaining Dory. Pixar/Disney through AP hide caption

toggle caption Pixar/Disney via AP

I feel he heard my stand-up simply because I tend to do these rambling stories exactly where I commence in one particular location and then I finish up way, way, out and never am speaking about what I start off to speak about. And so he heard that, and that’s Dory. …

On the definition of family and home

I feel household is different for everybody. I think the classic family naturally still exists, but it really is not the only household. I feel classic family, that definition is altering and I feel more and a lot more there are a lot of divorces, there are a lot of single moms raising little ones, a lot of single dads raising children, and a lot of adoptions. …

What does household imply? … What is house? The most crucial point for me is home is understanding who you are. … And at times men and women never know who they are till they go home, whatever that property is. I consider that journey to [Dory’s] house … everyone can relate to what that indicates to try to uncover out exactly where you came from, what occurred to you, how’d you get there.

Arts &amp Life : NPR

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