In honor of Shark Week and the upcoming premiere of Finding Nemo 3D, Bruce sat down with us to talk about his role as Chum and the timelessness of the Finding Nemo story.Are you surprised that you're talking about Finding Nemo nearly 10 years after it's initial release?
Yeah, I am surprised. Although, Nemo is such and enduring story anyway. It's really one of those iconic stories. In a way, I'm not surprised. Especially for those who have families and young kids growing up, it's still quite enduring, and it's still just as relevant to them. And to be honest, the technology that Pixar used to put this movie on the screen, it's still just as fresh.How did you get the role of Chum?
They thought of me, really. I was just very, very fortunate. I've performed in a number of international films, and therefore I do have people who are aware of me overseas, and when I met Andrew he was very much aware of my work. So, I assume that's one of the reasons he chose me. And following up, most of those Australian actors involved in Nemo are some of the more commonly known actors in Australia and in the film industry as well--people like Barry Humphries, who plays Bruce the shark, and Eric Bana, myself and a number of others.What was it like being the voice of Chum?
Oh, it was wonderful. The guys at Pixar are different folk in the film industry. They really are very warm and very human. They said, "Remember, we're San Francisco. We're not L.A." That's their reflection on people in L.A., but I think what they were saying was that these guys are just a bunch of nerds that wanted to tell a story, and being in San Fransisco, they were more preoccupied by the technology and the storytelling than the industry of filmmaking.
And I guess they were sort of fresh in that way, and I think that's what made Pixar so successful, was that kind of fresh way of looking at the world and that epic nature that they have in their storytelling. And there's a kind of a rascally way that they tell stories. There's a very cheeky way that they go about telling their stories. And at the same time, a very human way.
I think there are aspects in Finding Nemo that are sort of a classic hero quest, archetypal story, however, they're very close to the way that we ourselves act. We can recognize ourselves when we see these fish on the screen. We can see the human aspects of these fish. Each character has a very human aspect, and human foibles to them. And I find that, for me, the film resonates because it taps so well into those aspects of the father-son relationship, and the female fish with the short-term memory loss, et cetera. There are all of those sort of problems that we're kind of familiar with in the real world.Do you have to be quick-witted to do a voice over role?
Absolutely, you do have to. When you're playing a character in a real drama, you have time to develop the character and bring something to it. And also, you yourself are there, so you're exploring aspects of yourself more. But when you're putting down a voice, you really do need to think quite quickly. Also, you need to imagine what the other characters are saying. Because more often then not, you're not hearing the other characters at all. You're just putting this down in a vacuum and imagining how they're likely to present them. So, you really have to use your imagination a lot.Why is Finding Nemo still relevant now?
10 years ago, the world was different. And now, since then, the world is a little darker, and we're not as optimistic as we used to be. And in a way, Nemo--it's theme really is to persevere and keep going and hope for the best. Never give up. Never assume the worst about a situation or in other people. Just always look for the better parts of people and the better parts of the situation...And Marlin, the father, who sees darkness everywhere, realizes that he has to relax and appreciate the world.