Katlin Olson is best known for her role on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia for the past eleven years, quite a different role than Destiny, the whale shark. She’s clumsy swimmer with a big heart that happens to speak Whale. She sat down with us for the Finding Dory Event to talk about her role as Destiny and balancing being a mom with her career.
Katlin Olson talks Whale as Destiny in Finding Dory
She walks in a few minutes late unnecessarily apologizing.
Thank you, having to shove a cookie down my face. (Laughing) These are good cookies, really good, the kids are at school, I made it, everything is good. I’m happy to be here, hi everyone, how are you?
Since you mentioned your kids, did they see the movie last night?
They did and they loved it.
Do you have a favorite scene?
Tiny Dory, that little baby Dory was so cute, her voice. That’s why I love Pixar movies so much, you can truly get emotional when you’re watching them, you know what I mean, like they’re funny and they’re fun to have in the background if you’re kids are watching a movie but I actually am invested in the movie. I’m like “oh my god, they didn’t leave you- they love you, they’re trying to help you.” Yeah it was she’s just so sweet, all that stuff I thought was really because it moved me.
What is your favorite characteristic of the character of Destiny?
I like that she can’t swim well and that she’s imperfect, there’s just something so great about that. And about all of these characters that, you know, there’s something imperfect about all of them, in that they still are making it happen and- and helping each other out. That’s what I like about her most I think.
Do your kids enjoy it when you speak whale to them?
I try not to speak whale as often as possible because I had to do it so much. Andrew and Lindsey were so funny. At the end of every session they were like, “okay sorry but- sorry but we just need a little bit more whale.” I’m like okay, I just feel so dumb doing it (laughing). It’s embarrassing. So no, I don’t know if they do because I haven’t done it yet. And they haven’t asked, I’m sure they will someday.
What drew you to take on the role of Destiny?
I think Pixar movies are amazing, they really truly are my favorite kids’ movies. Wall-E, Toy Story all of them, they’re just amazing movies, they’re sweet, they have good messages. I honestly when I found out about the project before I even found out what kind of character it was going it be, instantly I was like yeah-yeah-yeah yeah-yeah-yeah anything yes. Because I’m on a show that’s for adults, you know, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is not something we let our children watch, which is why I was really excited to do a kids’ movie. I had at the time I had one baby and I was pregnant with my second one, so it has been four years, now that little one is four and he came to the premier last night, I know it was pretty cool. So I wanted to do something they could watch.
Along that same line, have you thought about this is an iconic movie that your grand children will see, what does that mean to you?
I seriously feel so incredibly honored to be a part of this movie for that reason. It’s just a quality project. I feel like I’m repeating myself, but all the Pixar movies, they really relate to adults and children. I’m really focused on movies and shows that you want to sit down and watch with your family, because that’s just where I am in my life now too. I remember going to the movie with my family, it was like kind of of a special thing for us. We didn’t go very often. And sitting down together on Thursday nights to watch Cheers, you know what I mean. And it’s important to me to work on things where we can all kind of get excited and watch together. So I just feel just incredibly honored to be a part of it for yeah for that reason. I believe in Pixar’s model and I really love this movie and I think it’s yeah I think it’s going to be around for a while.
What lesson about friendship does Destiny’s and Dory’s relationship relate to kids and adults as well?
Well working together for one thing and that family is really what you make of it. If you don’t have one, you can create one with good people around you, which is really amazing. And the just keep swimming thing is a really wonderful thing for everybody to keep in mind. Nobody has a perfect life, nobody is perfect, and that’s okay. I’m specifically dealing with that with one of my sons who’s just a perfectionist. And he gets so so so upset, I mean even the Legos will fall apart and it really is the end of the world, and he feels personally like he is a terrible person. (Laughing) It’s like the Legos fell apart. That’s like a theme of his whole life and I’ve been trying to tell him for a long time, like nobody is perfect I promise and he does not believe me, he really thinks he’s supposed to be. So that’s a message in this movie that really resonates for me personally- it’s you don’t have to be perfect. No- there’s no such thing.
For the scenes with Ty Burell did you record alone or did you record together?
Do you have any Destiny toys yet?
We actually had a little private screening last night, and I brought my kids to it, that was the first time they saw it. And they sent them home with little Destiny dolls and they sleep with them. It’s so cute. I sat in between them and I was holding both of their hands and I was like oh, this is what mommy does for work, you can finally see some of it, so yeah, it’s really cute that they sleep with them.
Do they get that that’s you?
Yeah they do, my oldest one definitely does, I can’t tell if my youngest one pretends he does because the oldest one does, I don’t really know what’s going on. But they yes they yeah they get it.
What challenges did you came across in the recording booth?
When they decided that Destiny would be a bad swimmer, because that kind of came through in the middle of the process. He really wanted me to like sound wobbly like I was having a hard time swimming so they got me this weird like balance board thing that he wanted me to stand on while reading lines. (Laughing) The problem is, guys, I have such great balance that I just was like faking, faking being off balance. It was just it was so weird, we tried a whole session like that and I was like, guys, can I just try standing here and doing this (laughing) we got rid of the balance board. It sounds like a silly answer but that truly was kind of a challenge, because you lose your voice. There’s a lot of yelling that I like to do in my acting, like all that stuff or screaming for Dory or stuff like that, I would lose my voice and then I know that we are closing our session, I’m not going to see them for a month, I don’t want to blow the last hour. And I’m like oh I should be a better vocally trained actor using my diaphragm better, you know, like the tea and throat sprat. I would say like beating myself up about losing my voice too early was a, was a challenge, because there was a lot of yelling, even just like calling for her places and the whale, oh the whale speaking whale. It’ll get you.
You mention showing your kids, this is what mommy does for work, how do you balance being a parent with your career?
That’s a fantastic question. My kids are one hundred percent my priority. I don’t take things that will take me away from them too much. I recently agreed to do this pilot called The Mick, it just got picked up on Fox, so I’ll be shooting that next year and luckily we’re mid season, so it’s just going to be twelve episodes this coming first season. And I said I wanted to produce it so I could make sure that it was not only the vision that I wanted. But that I could also have a little bit of control over the schedule. I always want to be there for bedtime, there are times when I miss it. But it’s rare that I go a day without seeing them. If I do, I’m there in the morning, you know what I mean. I just do the best I can, like everybody is. You know, lot of working moms out there. And I have the luxury of being able to have them come to me after school and play in my trailer and I can’t always hang out with them, because I’m working, but at least they’re close and they feel like I’m not too far away.
FINDING DORY (6/17/16)
*I have been invited by Disney to attended the #FindingDory Event to share my experience with my readers. All opinions are my own.