The exploring little fish-that-could that captured the heart of every aquatic-loving kid in the world (not to mention their parents!) is now all grown up, just in time for this Friday’s 3D re-release of Finding Nemo.
EW caught up with the now 18-year-old Alexander Gould, who voiced Nemo in the original 2003 film. Besides telling us that his favorite Nemo character was forgetful Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres), he filled us in on his memories of recording the blockbuster movie (it grossed $868 million worldwide) and what’s next (Gould has been on Weeds for the past seven years, and is now planning on taking some time off and going abroad for college this fall).
Below is an edited version of the chat.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When was the last time you saw Finding Nemo?
ALEXANDER GOULD: I would say a couple weeks ago, I saw it with some friends. We were reminiscing and I felt like watching it. [I watch it pretty regularly.] I always have friends that say, ‘Let’s watch it with you!’ because I was the voice. It’s fun for them to watch it with me. It’s such a great movie. I could see it millions of times and it wouldn’t get boring.
Do you remember what you were thinking the first time you heard your voice coming out of the fish?
Before [the movie came out] that we saw it with not a lot of graphic artwork ready. They had synched my voice into a short scene. It was really neat to watch, and then I saw an early screening of the movie. It was surreal. The weirdest thing, which me and my family noticed, was that they animated my face and my expressions into the fish. It was a neat thing.
Besides physical attributes, was there anything you related to about Nemo either as a kid or now?
I’ve always been an adventurous person, so that was a big similarity between the character and myself. The story, a lot of kids can relate to, just dealing with parents and them thinking they knew what’s best for you. Wanting to break away and be your own person. So it’s very relatable story. I think that’s one of the reasons it has done so well and also one of the reasons I was able to connect to it.
Did you ever think this movie would take off like it has?
No. It was a good story, but we never imagined it would be so huge. It was a really pleasant surprise and I think to this day it’s almost not real to us how huge it was. You hear people talk about it, calling it an ‘all-time classic’ that people are going to watch for 100 years.
When did you first realize Finding Nemo was going to be huge?
Definitely hearing the box office numbers and hearing how it took off right away. The interviews and everything we did for it was just a crazy experience to go through. That was when we first started realizing, ‘Wow. This is way bigger than we ever thought it would be.’ And it really was.
Pixar movies are famous for their appeal to both adults and kids. Are there scenes you remember not really relating to as a kid, but re-watching now are some of your favorites?
Definitely. Where Pixar is so brilliant at like putting those one-liners even a couple of jokes in there for adults. A dig at something or a little joke that as a kid, you’re just watching the movie. They put it in there so subtlety, it really makes it a great film for everyone. I can’t think of anything specific, but there were definitely a few points where I chuckled and remembered completely dismissing it when I was younger.
Besides Finding Nemo, what has been your favorite Pixar movie over the years?
They’re all fantastic, but one of my favorites was probably The Incredibles. It was a really great movie. Superheroes are always a fun topic, a fun thing to watch and it just made a great story. I loved the world the writers created in the movie and how everything kind of fit together. There was so much backstory and different characters they brought into this movie and created a whole new line of superheros. It could have come out of any comic book.
What other hobbies do you enjoy in your free time?
I ski, I snowboard, I’ve started to get into skydiving a little bit. I’m a little bit of a thrill-seeker. I love it. I think it’s so much fun. And then just hanging out with friends and being a teenager. I’m traveling a bit and having a good time with that.
Growing up, did you like sea food, or was it weird to eat fish?
(laughs) I’ve actually always been a big fan of sea food. Sushi is one my favorite things. The movie didn’t affect me in that way. I’ve never had a problem with it.