One of the most humorous scenes in Pixar's hit Finding Nemo involves Ellen Degeneres' Dory attempting to "speak whale." The whale speech makes a comeback in this weekend's sequel Finding Dory, and we actually learn how Dory learned the language, but the story about how Ellen learned the language is an even better one. She spent one vacation listening to whale sounds for an extended period of time, and the bizarre experience stuck with her.
The cast and crew of Pixar's Finding Dory were part of a talk at Google recently when one attendee asked Ellen Degeneres how she learned to speak whale. She also asked the question partially in whale, because this is Google and the company is full of nerds. Ellen then told a story about being on vacation in Hawaii and finding her rental house next to a woman who would spend her days doing fairly mad levels of yoga, all while listening to an album of whale sounds.
I didn't know you could buy that record, but there's a record that just is whale sounds. And I was listening to it...and it was just the weirdest thing I'd ever seen in my life
This experience gave Ellen Degeneres an intimate, if unwanted, familiarity with the sounds of whales, so when Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton asked Ellen if she would "speak whale" for the film, she knew exactly what to do. Stanton, for his part, thought Ellen would veto the idea without a second thought, but instead, she dove in.
It's not all fun and games, however. According to Ellen Degeneres, there are downsides to speaking whale.
It's not easy...if you have to do it a lot it's very, it's tough on your vocal chords. You have to kind of warm up.
There's actually quite a bit of whale spoken in Finding Dory as a major character in the film is Destiny, a whale shark. A whale shark is actually a shark, not a whale, but one should apparently not tell Destiny that. You can check out the full talk at Google below, the pertinent part regarding speaking whale begins at the 29:20 mark.
Pixar's Finding Dory is a worthy sequel to its predecessor and looks to be another solid production from the Pixar team. You can check it out when the film hits theaters this Friday.