Today I am so excited to be talking about Hank the Octopus from Finding Dory…OK, really he is a septopus because he lost a tentacle.
Hank is the character you are going to fall in love with, want a plush stuffed animal of and want to see over and over again. He is gruff yet loveable. From the few minutes of film we got to see I can’t wait to see more of Hank.
Oh did I mention he is an escape artist who uses his camouflaging abilities to help Dory find her parents? So pretty much he is a rockstar friend who really just wants something for himself yet agrees to help Dory.
Here is the character profile from Disney
Ed O’Neill lends his iconic voice to Hank, who is an octopus. Actually, he’s a “septopus”: he lost a tentacle—along with his sense of humor—somewhere along the way. But Hank is just as competent as his eight-armed peers. An accomplished escape artist with camouflaging capabilities to boot, Hank is the first to greet Dory when she finds herself in the Marine Life Institute. But make no mistake: he’s not looking for a friend. Hank is after one thing—a ticket on a transport truck to a cozy Cleveland facility where he’ll be able to enjoy a peaceful life of solitude.
During the Finding Dory Event in Monterey we had the chance to talk with Jason Deamer who is the Character Art Director for Finding Dory, Jeremie Talbot who is the Character Supervisor, Mike Stocker who is the Supervising Animator and John Halstead who is Supervising Technical Director to find out what it took to not only create Hank but make him animated and life like.
Jason Deamer kicked off the session talking about how Hank is a reluctant superhero. Creating the character of Hank was hard which was great because it meant that hit hadn’t been done before.
You can see in the picture above all of the octopus pics that they looked at for inspiration while creating Hank.
Jeremie Talbot shared with us how they had to build a puppet for animation to work with. Had to design how to move an octopus which meant developing new ways to move the curves of the tentacles.
There is a balance of art and mathematics needed to create each of the characters. They actually used Ka the snake from the Jungle Book as a reference when working on how to move Hanks tentacles and body.
One of the things I love about Disney is the detail they go into while researching a character. They actually dove into the cellular science of how an octopus changes their colors for camouflage while creating Hank.
Mike Stocker who is the Supervising Animator for Finding Dory told us that animators act through the characters. They had to learn how an octopus moves, and figure out how do we put that movement into the film.
Animators visited the Moneterey Bay Aquarium to see up close how an octopus moves and what they are able to do. We learned during our visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium that they have to put special matting around the octopus cage that they can’t grip on to or they will escape from their cage. They told us that they had the octopus escape and people would find them hanging out in random parts of the aquarium. Can you imagine coming into work and there is an octopus sitting on the floor staring up at you. Not sure if I would scream or giggle.
John Halstead the Supervising Technical Director shared with us how they had to do research down to an octopus’s suction cups. They wanted Hank to move like a real octopus. They simulate the effects of real world physics on a character.
Throughout the entire presentation, I was really impressed with the attention to detail, the care and the work that went into creating Hank. They didn’t just whip up any old octopus and call it a day. They spent hours, days and months creating a character for each of us to fall in love with and also learn life lessons from.
I truly believe that Hank is going to be the character that we all want to see more of after seeing Finding Dory!
Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” welcomes back to the big screen everyone’s favorite forgetful blue tang Dory (voice of Ellen DeGeneres), who’s living happily in the reef with Marlin (voice of Albert Brooks) and Nemo (voice of Hayden Rolence). When Dory suddenly remembers that she has a family out there who may be looking for her, the trio takes off on a life-changing adventure across the ocean to California’s prestigious Marine Life Institute, a rehabilitation center and aquarium. In an effort to find her mom (voice of Diane Keaton) and dad (voice of Eugene Levy), Dory enlists the help of three of the MLI’s most intriguing residents: Hank (voice of Ed O’Neill), a cantankerous octopus who frequently gives employees the slip; Bailey (voice of Ty Burrell), a beluga whale who is convinced his biological sonar skills are on the fritz; and Destiny (voice of Kaitlin Olson), a nearsighted whale shark. Deftly navigating the complex inner workings of the MLI, Dory and her friends discover the magic within their flaws, friendships and family. Directed by Andrew Stanton (“Finding Nemo,” “WALL•E”), co-directed by Angus MacLane (“Toy Story OF TERROR!”), and produced by Lindsey Collins (co-producer “WALL•E”), Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” swims into theaters June 17, 2016.