Finding Nemo had the biggest opening weekend for any animated film upon its U.S. release, and also grew to be the best selling DVD of all time, selling over 40 million copies. But there are many more lesser-known facts about the movie. Since Finding Nemo is turning 14 today, we’re sharing our favorite 14 facts about our fishy friends!
1. Writer and Director, Andrew Stanton, pitched his idea for the movie to Pixar head John Lasseter in a session that lasted a whole hour, using elaborate visual aids and many different character voices. At the end of it, an exhausted Stanton asked Lasseter what he thought, to which Lasseter replied, “You had me at ‘fish.'”
2. The name of the great white shark in the movie was Bruce. This was based on the nickname given to the models used for the shark in Jaws (1975), named after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce M. Ramer.
3. Dedicated to the memory of Glenn McQueen (1960-2002), a Pixar animator who would later be honored as the namesake of Lightning McQueen in Cars (2006).
Glenn McQueen: The Pixar Times
4. The diploma found in the Dentist’s office is from Pixar University School of Dentistry.
5. 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. He also recorded all of Crush’s dialogue lying on his couch in his office.
6. 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.
7. 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. This is the first film where the Truck has a Distinctive Appearance, being a Right Handed Vehicle driving on the left side of the road, since it’s in Sydney, Australia.
Pizza Planet Truck in ‘Finding Nemo’
8. Film makers were worried that comedian Ellen DeGeneres would not be able to perform the dramatic scene where Dory begs Marlin not to leave. At the end of a day of a recording day, Pixar asked her to record a trial reading of the heartfelt scene, purely with the intent that she go home with a recording of it to practice for her actual performance. DeGeneres agreed, but her trial reading went so well and was so emotional that it was used in the final cut of the film.
9. Crush’s son Squirt is voiced by Nicholas Bird, the young son of fellow Pixar director Brad Bird. Director Andrew Stanton was inspired to cast Nicholas when Brad was showing home movies around the Pixar offices.
10. 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.
A-113 in ‘Finding Nemo’
11. Surprise Easter Egg: On the Bonus Features menu on Disc 2, if you highlight the return symbol, then press down, a green fish will appear. Select this to see a commercial for the Aquascum 2003.
12. 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.
13. Ellen DeGeneres was cast when Andrew Stanton saw an episode of her chat show in which she essentially changed the subject about 5 times in the space of a few minutes.
14. Two experiences in Andrew Stanton’s life shaped the film. The first one was recalling trips to the dentist as a child and being fascinated by the aquarium there, the second was realizing that he was naturally over-protective of his young son.
Do you know any other cool facts about Finding Nemo? Share them with everyone in the comments below!