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Interview: Alexander Gould (Nemo) talks Finding Nemo 3D, Supernatural and Hollywood

INTERVIEWS - FILM

Nemo's all grown up, and he's got a lot to say...

Interview: Alexander Gould (Nemo) talks Finding Nemo, 3D and Hollywood...

When Finding Nemo was released, you were just 9 years of age…did you ever feel pressured by the role? What was it like to be so young and yet in the arc of Hollywood stardom?

At the time, I didn’t realise how big of a deal it was going to be. Now, you look back and it’s such a huge film, but back I could never have envisioned how big the film would become; and as such I never really felt much pressure.

Looking back I suppose I should have [felt a bit more pressure], because it was to become such a big film, a huge success for Pixar, but at the time I could never have known that.

In the 10 years that have passed since [Finding] Nemo’s original release, we have seen a significant increase in 3D production; and, with Monsters Inc having just been given a 3D makeover, I cannot say I’m surprised to see Nemo out next. With this in mind, how do you think audiences will react to Nemo’s 3D makeover? What are they likely to take away from the experience?

Movie poster for Finding Nemo 3D...There was so much within Finding Nemo that would have appealed to audiences, so it’s hard to pinpoint anything in specific.

The artwork, for example, was so incredible. It had so much depth and dimension to it - to levels that had only been dreamt about till then – and a 3D rerelease can only enhance these visuals and the beauty of the film itself. Of course, it will also open the film up to another generation of viewers, those who regard 3D as the norm; and with its timeless story, such a classic, I think it’s great that people will be able to watch it once more.

Alexander, you were very young at the time of casting, but I remember seeing you in Malcom in the Middle as early as 2000 (3 years before Finding Nemo). Can you tell us how the role came to fruition, and how you went from bit roles to a big budget lead?

Erm, that’s an interesting one. I started acting when I was two years of age; that’s when I first got involved in the industry. From there, I just started working… building up, doing different roles, auditioning for different parts…the same as most actors.

Finding Nemo was just another audition, a case of going in and reading a couple of lines… not a big deal. That said, from their side it was a whole process – I went in and, if I’m honest, simply forgot about the audition in the weeks that followed – but they continued to audition Worldwide, testing 1000’s of kids – and in fact a number of adults too - and about a year after the original audition I got a call asking me to return. So I went in and auditioned a second time, and they thanked me once again and said they would be in touch.

Again, I forgot about it. I had nothing confirmed and wasn’t expecting to hear back, but a few months after the second interview I was contacted once more but this time they wanted me to come in and record a couple of lines; to test out the role I suppose. When I went in, my mother and I enquired as to what role I would be undertaking…and that’s when I was told it would be the lead! It was such a crazy experience, but an honour nevertheless.

One wonders…have you kept in contact with many of the original cast?

Haha, unfortunately not. At the time I did the movie there was a huge age gap between myself and the rest of the cast, so I’ve struggled to keep in contact over the years. That said, it was still such an honour to be involved with such a great cast, and to have been involved in it was fantastic.

Fan question - Sabrina Capella: When is Nemo's birthday, and do you have any fish yourself?

Wow…what a great question. Erm, I don’t think he has one at the moment…

Ok Alex, would you like to pick one for us?

Finding Nemo 3D, in cinemas now...

What an honour! Right, let’s go for the 4th May. Great geeky tie ins, and also my birthday too…

Fan question - Nicole Ugrin: In Steven Johnson's book 'Everything bad is good for you' they used Finding Nemo as an example of how children's movies have grown more complex. As compared to say, Bambi, you have multi-ethnic story lines, set changes and complex themes. Do you think this is primarily for the benefit of the adults in the audience, or has home viewing (multiple viewings) fundamentally changed storytelling to kids?

Wow…that’s really fascinating. I think one of the things Pixar does a lot, that I love, is they make their movies appealing to adults. Whether it’s little jokes that they’ll throw in, or parts of the storyline that only adults will understand, they really are masters at creating a script/film that will appeal to all sorts of audiences.

Looking back at Finding Nemo, there’s definitely content and jokes within the film that I understand now that, back when the film was released, I never got. It’s a credit to Pixar that they are able to include areas of the film that do not offend, but provide mature humour at the same time.

I also think that it’s interesting, with kids concerned, that we’re upping the complexity of the material presented to kids, as it gets them to think a little bit more at a younger age, and it’s really interesting to see how things have changed.

Talking Weeds

Who was the most fun on set of Weeds?

As well as voicing 'Nemo' in Finding Nemo, Alexander Gould also saw great success in Weeds...The whole cast worked so well together, like a huge family unit really. It was incredible to be a part of that, and over the seasons there were a number of different moments that will stick with me. Off the top of my head - the killing scene, where I got to whack someone on the head with a mallet; an episode where I got to drive a ferrari; and working with Kevin Neelan, who played Doug in the show – he was the jokster of the cast, always making the rest of us laugh, just a real awesome guy to be around. So yeah, no one particular memory, but instead a collection.

Many felt that Weeds began to decline a little near the end, but after a great run. Was there any particular season that stood out as the best to you?

Going back and watching the show, from the outside looking in, I’d say that the third and fourth seasons were probably the best we did, with the strongest storylines and best idea. I can definitely see where some people might say that it lost its way a bit in the end, but I feel that the show ended at a point where it was a strong, enjoyable ending; it wasn’t after its time or left overstaying its welcome. From that point, I think it was very respectful of its audience and smart enough to know when to call it quits.

Obviously Justin Kirk's (Andy from Weeds) went on to make his own series called Animal Practice. Did you manage to catch it at all?

Yeah, I caught the first couple of episodes…I thought it was good. I didn’t really get a chance to get to into it.

And what did you make of it?

Again, I liked it. As I only managed to catch the first couple of episodes I didn’t really get a chance to get into it as much as I’d of liked to. It was an NBC show, and they have a lot of different start-ups –many in the same vein as one another – so, although it was a good show, it just never found its slot.

I was happy for Justin that he had something, as I looked upto him a lot when we worked on Weeds together, and I’m sure he’ll be back on our screens regularly before we know it. He’s a great actor and a top guy, and I wish him the best

Other projects

You were lucky enough to star in an episode [S4E15: ‘Death takes a holiday’] of Eric Kripke’s extraordinary series Supernatural, one of which I’m a massive fan of. Tell me…what was it like to work with such a great cast; the likes of Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki etc…

Among his repetoire, Alexander starred in Eric Kripke's Supernatural; seen here with Dean Winchester (played by Jensen Ackles)...

Yeah, it was a really fun experience. The guys in the cast were both really fun to work with. I think at the time I was around 14, and it was a really fun show to be involved in. We filmed up in Vancouver, Canada, and I just remember thinking “Boy, it’s freezing”, but everyone was so professional still.

There was this one scene where I had to punch one of the guys in the stomach, and I was really worried about hurting him. The guys just kept saying “Go for it… it’s great fun. We can take it”, and when I hit him he pretended to be really hurt, only to start laughing soon after. He really got me! But that’s what the guys were like – there always seemed to be great energy between the cast, and Jensen [Dean Winchester} and Jared {Sam Winchester] were charismatic together. Sometimes you forgot they weren’t actually brothers, such was the quality of their acting.

If rumours are to be believed, we are set to welcome Finding Nemo 2 to our screens sometime in 2016. Have you been contacted us about it, and is there anything you can share with us?

Obviously I’ve heard the rumours…they’re everywhere…but personally, I don’t know anything about it. I can only comment on myself, and I haven’t been contacted up to now.  Of course, if there was a spot for me, an opportunity to be involved, it would be a really neat thing to go back to and revisit…but who knows. Whether Nemo himself would even feature in a second is questionable, but if he did I’d be sure to find room for it!

A few to finish...

If people could take away just one thing from Finding Nemo 3D, what would you hope it would be?

I’m not sure. It’s just a great feel good family film, and you hope that the message gets across that family is important, and that you should always stick together. People need to forget about the little problems/issues, and remember how great it is to have people around…

Finally, what’s next in your career? Is there anything that you’d like to go into, or anyone that you would really like to work with?

Wow...that’s a strong question to finish! You know, at the moment I’m happy with what I’m doing. I’m studying abroad and right now I don’t have any projects lined up. I have a group of people looking out for things for me, so I’m just going to wait and see what that brings up.

In regards to people, there’s no-one in particular that I’d really like to work with. Hollywood is awash with talent across the board, so to work with anyone involved in that spectrum is just a great honour as it is.  That said, hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back on your screens!

Shadowlocked would like to thank Disney, Pixar and Premier PR for the opportunity to speak with Alexander, and most importantly thanks Alexander for agreeing to speak to us. All at Shadowlocked wish you the best for the future!


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