Dancing with Ellen and Ed O’Neill

Ellen and Ed O'Neill interview

I have been a fan of Ellen DeGeneres for years… yes, even before The Ellen DeGeneres Show. I love her compassion and willingness to help others, whether that be human or animal. I have always held her on a high pedestal. I was anxious to see if she lived up to my expectations… I’ll let you know at the end!

It was exciting to interview Ellen and Ed O’Neill together after my amazing Finding Dory premiere experience from the night before. Of course, we all know Ellen as the voice of Dory, the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish that captured our hearts in Finding Nemo. Ed was the perfect addition to the sequel as Hank, a grumpy mischievous mimic octopus, there to help Dory find her way.

Ellen DeGeneres interview
HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 08: Actress Ellen DeGeneres attends The World Premiere of Disney-Pixar’s FINDING DORY on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney).

There was no bigger cheerleader for a Finding Nemo sequel than Ellen. I can remember her talking about it on her show for years. She would not give up. We have to give her a little credit for never giving up just like Dory. Besides, Finding Nemo did win an Academy Award! Ellen was so excited the day she got a call from director Andrew Stanton. There would finally be a sequel all about Dory finding her family.

Ed O'Neill interview
HOLLYWOOD, CA – JUNE 08: Actor Ed O’Neill attends The World Premiere of Disney-Pixar’s FINDING DORY on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney).

As Ellen and Ed entered the room everyone applauded as Ellen clapped and rushed around the long table where we were seated. A rush of joy entered the room as we watched her in awe.

Ellen and Ed shared with us how they felt when they watched the premiere. Ed said he kept wanting to turn around to grab Ellen as they were seated in the theater even though it was the second time the cast had watched Finding Dory. Ellen shared how it was really nice to see it with more people at the El Capitan so they could really feel everyone’s energy.

Ellen and Ed O'Neill interview
Photo credit Sara Lundberg (BudgetSavvyDiva.coM).

Ed said he didn’t get as choked up the first time he saw the movie as he did at the premiere. When Dory comes across something she’s been searching for Ed said, “Oh, my God, I’m gonna cry.” Everyone laughed. Ellen felt the same way and even cried. A friend of Ellen’s said the movie is much more adventurous versus the first one. I have to agree! Dory, Nemo and Marlin have a huge adventure!

Dory has three words that keep her moving throughout the movie…

Just. Keep. Swimming.

Ellen said she never thought about it before but that was really always her motto since her own life has gone through a lot of different twists and turns. Through it all she just keeps swimming. She said she just keeps moving forward making people happy and smiling. Ed said his three word motto is just keep punching. We all had a good chuckle on that one!

Ellen and Ed O'Neill interview
Photo credit Sara Lundberg (BudgetSavvyDiva.coM).

We wanted to know what they hope their characters bring to kids, parents and people. Ellen said ‘never give up’, ‘be optimistic’, and ‘there’s always another way’. These are great messages for kids. Ed agreed with Ellen that there is always another option in life.

When someone says that there isn’t another way, there is.  You don’t get stuck. And no matter what your situation is, it can get better. Everybody starts from a different place and some people start with a lot more odds stacked against them. But there’s a way out. There’s a way to use whatever you do best to help you.  – Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen’s strength has always been making people laugh. You have to find your strengths to make it through tough times. All the characters in Finding Dory have some type of flaw but they each have their own strengths. Ellen has had many challenges in her life but she knew she could always make people laugh.

Ellen and Ed O'Neill interview
Photo credit Sara Lundberg (BudgetSavvyDiva.coM).

We were curious if Ed or Ellen had researched their characters. Ed said he googled “mimic octopus” because someone told him to. He didn’t know an octopus like the one he plays even existed. His character, Hank, shape shifts and even changes colors. Ed said someone told him they only live about three years. We googled it and it’s actually only two years. Ellen said that’s a bummer. Yes, a bummer for sure!

They don’t have a long lifespan, but it’s probably good because they’d be ruling the world. Amazing.  – Ed O’Neill on his character Hank in Finding Dory

Ellen thought that was amazing and it’s quality versus quantity. That is so true for every living creature! She said it has a full life of being anything it wants it to be, and mimicking whatever it wants to mimic. I would say it definitely has a full life.

Hank and Dory
Hank (Ed O’Neill) and Dory (Ellen DeGeneres).

Of course, we couldn’t resist asking if there will be a sequel to Finding Dory. Ed had mentioned he’d like to hurry it along before we all die. I agree, waiting thirteen years for Finding Dory was a bit long but worth the wait. Ed said he doesn’t really think that far ahead anyways.

Ellen and Ed O'Neill interview
Photo credit Sara Lundberg (BudgetSavvyDiva.coM).

Ellen said Ed really didn’t know his part was going to be as big as it was. Hank was a huge part in Dory’s adventure. When Ed signed on to do the movie there wasn’t even a script for Hank so he thought it was actually a cameo. Before signing on they explained to him that it was Pixar and from Finding Nemo. Ed said, “okay, I’m in.” I mean, who turns down Pixar? He had no idea he would be working as the voice of Hank for three years!

Although all of Ed’s lines for Hank were with Dory, the two never actually worked together. They were by themselves doing their voice-overs every time. Ellen said it was so great seeing Ed’s character come to life. She even said, “Oh, this is so perfect, and he’s so perfectly grumpy.”  Of course, we laughed at the grumpy comment since it is so similar to Ed’s character, Jay Pritchett, in Modern Family.

Hank and Dory

Ed pulls out his tiny imaginary steering wheel as he explains how he thought about the movie as he drove to his voice-over sessions on the 101. Ellen commented on his tiny steering wheel. We all laughed. Ed said he felt like he had such a high energy during the sessions to only find he needed to amp it up a little more. This would go on for hours.

Ellen pointed out how voice sessions are great since there’s no hair and makeup. You can just show up but it’s a lot of hard work talking for hours especially as Dory. Dory is always left behind and trying to catch up which is exactly how Ellen felt for three years while making the movie.

Ed said to think of it like you’re eating food. You don’t want to eat too much food because it’s a hundred ‘takes.’ If you’re eating ribs you have to pace yourself just like you have to pace yourself when doing a voice-over.

Dory in Finding Dory

Ellen would go home and not talk. People would ask her to speak and she would say no because her voice was so exhausted. She absolutely would not speak whale for us. She said it took so much out of her voice. My son loves speaking whale… randomly, almost Every. Single. Day!

Ellen got to improv a lot in the movie. She was able to have free rein to play around and add lines. One ad lib that stood out to Ellen was the line – “how can someone save this park in one day?” That was all Ellen. It’s exciting to know actors can sometimes literally add their own voice to lines.

Ellen thought the scene with Ed (Hank) accidentally turning on the garbage disposal was so clever and brilliant. Watch the funny scene below:

There were many funny scenes with Hank being mischievous with Dory. The sea lions were also a funny scene for all watching the movie.

sea lions Finding Dory

Ed joked how he loved the whale talk. Ellen quickly replied, “Yeah, I’m not gonna do it.” We all laughed.

I was anxious to get the actors take on the animated short Piper shown just before Finding Dory. Ellen is such an animal lover that I knew she would absolutely love it. Ellen thought it was so adorable. Ed said Albert Brooks said to him, “I don’t know if I’d show a sea story before…” He’s so funny.

Piper animated short

What better way to end an interview with Ellen DeGeneres and Ed O’Neill than with a dance? With one of our phones blaring as loud as it could go we danced with Ellen and Ed to Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”.

Ellen joked that Ed said to her before they walked in to the interview, “I hope we dance.” Of course, I think she was kidding.

We all laughed and danced in a circle around Ellen and Ed. The perfect end to an amazing interview.

Ellen far exceeded my expectations. She was genuine, funny and welcomed us with open arms. Ed was hilarious, witty and the perfect addition to an interview with Ellen. I even gave her a big hug and shook Ed’s hand after the interview.

And a laugh before the two jokesters leave…

Ellen and Ed O'Neill interview

Finding Dory is the perfect movie for the whole family. Check out the Finding Dory trailer below!

Like Finding Dory on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PixarFindingDory
Follow Finding Dory on Twitter: https://twitter.com/FindingDory
Follow Disney/Pixar on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/PixarFindingDory/
Follow Disney Studios on Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/disneystudios/finding-dory/
Visit Disney/Pixar on Tumblr: http://disneypixar.tumblr.com
Visit the official Finding Dory website here: https://disney.com/findingdory

Finding Dory swims in theaters everywhere on June 17th!

Be sure to enter to win our Finding Dory giveaway where two winners will win a Little Icon necklace inspired by the logo for Disney Pixar’s Finding Dory by designer Alex Woo.

Check out more about Finding Dory below:

2016 Movies from Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

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What was your favorite part about our interview with Ellen DeGeneres and Ed O’Neill? Comment below and share with us!

Bucket list item, check!

Dancing with Ellen and Ed O’Neill

Melanie Kampman

Melanie Kampman is a web designer, developer and owner of Giveaway Bandit and Farm News for Kids. She lives in Northwest Missouri on a large family farm with her husband and eight year old son, the Giveaway Bandit. They raise cattle with a variety of pets including horses, chickens, ducks, and a slew of cats. By Melanie Kampman If you are interested in writing a sponsored post on Giveaway Bandit please email me at melanie (at) giveawaybandit (dot) com.

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