Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Star of 'Finding Nemo' Surfaces Again - Wall Street Journal (blog)

Image from “Finding Nemo.”

Alexander Gould worked from the ages of seven to nine voicing the animated clownfish Nemo for the classic 2003 Pixar film “Finding Nemo.” “At this point my voice sounds so different that it’s almost like I’m not even listening to myself when I’m watching the movie,” says Gould, who turned 18 in May. “It’s kind of a neat thing to look back on and hear what I was like.”

Gould is getting the chance to experience his voice projected on the screen again since “Finding Nemo” is currently back in theaters â€" this time in 3-D. In the movie, Nemo is still locked in time as a youngster just starting school, but the now older actor who gave him life can imagine what the fish would be like if he matured â€" just as Gould and his voice have. “He obviously had a good support group when he was young and I think, hypothetically, Nemo would be a pretty normal kid,” suggests Gould. “Pretty average going through whatever stuff he went through. He’d probably be still [remembering] his adventure from when he was young. And maybe he’s had a couple more at this point.”

Gould’s description of Nemo’s possible life path pretty much sums up his own. Nemo’s protective father, Marlin, was a big help to his son, just as Gould’s parents guided him to his goals. “They always helped me to figure out what to do and let me take my own way,” he says of his decisions, like taking on the role of the brooding Shane Botwin on “Weeds” in 2005.

And as Nemo would most likely count his first big adventure away from home as unforgettable, Gould feels the same about his time roaming Pixar’s San Francisco studios as a young boy: “It’s a huge playground place. I just remember being there and hanging out with all of the animators.”

Gould was especially impressed by the foosball tables, pinball machines and scooters scattered around the Pixar campus. “As a seven or eight- year-old kid, you walk in there and you feel at home among all these adults,” he continues. “It was a really fun time.”

As for new adventures? Last summer Gould traveled south of the Equator. But instead of following Nemo’s lead and washing ashore in Australia, Gould headed to Zambia, Africa, to build houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Now that “Weeds” is ending its eight-season run this Sunday, Gould is ready to tackle another big adventure â€" college. “It’s kind of a weird time. It’s a bit of closure with one part of my life and opening new doors,” he explains. “When one door closes another one opens.”

Whether or not one of those doors will lead to Gould reprising his role in the sequel to “Finding Nemo” â€" due out in 2016 â€" remains to be seen. Pixar has not yet asked him to be a part of the project, even though he would love to participate as an older Nemo or a different character. “We’ll have to wait and see,” says Gould, who would be willing to take on the project despite his studies. “We’ll see where life takes me.”

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