It’s been a while since Ellen DeGeneres had a film role of any sort. The wildly popular comedian and actress has been busy heightening her profile via her daytime talk show for numerous years now, achieving household name status and packing her mantle with Emmy awards. At the same time, DeGeneres has managed a guest appearance here and there on the odd TV series, but nothing that drew audiences into movie theaters.
The last time that DeGeneres did in fact, appear on the big screen it was via voice only, in Pixar’s 2003 smash-hit, Finding Nemo. Given the film’s record-breaking box office take and its Oscar win for Best Animated Feature, the concept of a sequel was something of a no-brainer. However, it’s been a long wait for that followup – so long in fact, that many of the children who loved the original have since become adults.
Though there are of course Finding Nemo fans of all ages, it’s now time for a new generation of children to experience the adventures of the DeGeneres voiced blue tang, Dory. Finding Dory will hit theaters this summer and to date we haven’t seen a lot of what’s in store. There was a poster and teaser trailer some months back, but as of yet there haven’t seen much of the new characters involved in Dory’s latest journey.
That changed as of today, with EW offering an image of two new Finding Dory characters, which you can see below. The new characters on display are Bailey, the snub-nosed beluga whale voiced by Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Destiny, a whale shark voiced by Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia).
When Finding Dory picks up (six months after Finding Nemo), Dory decides that it’s time to find her parents and she heads off a search that leads her to a rehabilitation centre at a marine life facility. It’s here that she meets Baily and Destiny, who join Dory on her quest – and whose apparent bickering with one another should add some laughs. Olson’s own insight on the relationship between Bailey and Destiny sounds like the sort that a brother and sister might have, which is on par with the family and friends dynamic that typically run throughout Pixar productions:
“We totally get on each other’s nerves. I like to think I’m a shark, but Bailey calls me a whale, and I make fun of his head, because it’s gigantic.”
Even this early on, it’s not too much of a stretch to predict that Pixar will likely strike gold with this one. The first film was such a huge draw both domestically and internationally and DeGeneres is now such a beloved pop-culture icon that people will flock to theaters in hopes of recreating the magic of the original. What’s more, Finding Dory marks a return of Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton as well as several original cast members. Some of the newcomers this time around include: Idris Elba (Luther), Diane Keaton (Love The Coopers), Ed O’Neill (Modern Family), and Eugene Levy (American Reunion).
It’s been proven that there are no guarantees in Hollywood, but at the risk of being overly optimistic, Finding Dory has got to be the next closest thing to a guaranteed box office hit this coming summer.
Finding Dory arrives in U.S. theaters on June 17th, 2016.