Now, Harry Connick Jr. stars as a dedicated marine biologist in Warner Bros.’ new, family adventure “Dolphin Tale.” Also starring Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman, the film is inspired by the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life.
Connick, who worked closely with dolphins in his role, notes, “When you look at a dolphin, you know there is a connection. You can see the intelligence in their eyes; it’s almost as if they can look right through us. I felt that the whole time I was making this movie.”
In the film, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. She is rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, where she is named Winter. But her fight for survival has just begun. Without a tail, Winter’s prognosis is dire. It will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a brilliant prosthetics doctor, and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a groundbreaking miracle—a miracle that might not only save Winter but could also help scores of people around the world.
Without exception, the human cast of “Dolphin Tale” fell in love with their aquatic co-star, the dolphin Winter who plays herself. Connick says, “It’s an extraordinary sensation to be so close to such a majestic animal. And there’s something else that sets this dolphin apart—maybe it’s what she went through or the fact that she survived when others wouldn’t have, but it’s a privilege just being around her.”
Connick describes his character, Dr. Clay Haskett, as “the one in charge of Winter’s care, and he’s passionate about his work. He adds, “While he’s trying to save this dolphin, he’s also trying to save his rescue facility because they’re out of money. Adding to that, he’s a single father trying to raise a little girl, so there is a lot on his plate. I liked the character; I liked the struggle he goes through to figure out what to do, knowing he may have to make some tough decisions. Talking to the people at Clearwater, I learned that you truly have to be dedicated to working with animals because, even though it’s rewarding in one sense, there aren’t a lot of financial rewards and they’re there 24/7. I wanted to do them justice.”
Connick says he also wanted to collaborate with director Charles Martin Smith. “I’m a fan of his work and he’s a great guy. Between the animals and the children and the animatronics, there were a lot of variables on this film, but he was just a rock. There was no detail that wasn’t completely thought out, and everything fell into place.”
Connick’s initial foray into the world of motion pictures came in 1989 when director Rob Reiner asked him to perform a number of standards for the romantic comedy smash “When Harry Met Sally.” The movie’s soundtrack brought Connick mainstream success, becoming his first multi-platinum album and also earning him his first Grammy, for Best Jazz Male Vocal Performance.
The following year, he made his feature film acting debut in the World War II drama “Memphis Belle.” His acting credits also include Jodie Foster’s “Little Man Tate”; Jon Amiel’s “Copycat”; “Independence Day,” with Will Smith; “Hope Floats,” opposite Sandra Bullock; “Mickey,” written by John Grisham; William Friedkin’s “Bug”; Richard LaGravenese’s “P.S. I Love You,” with Hilary Swank; and “New in Town,” opposite Renée Zellweger.
Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 5 in 3D and regular theaters, “Dolphin Tale” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.