Story of Hope, Constant Change Unfolds in "Dolphin Tale 2"


In September 2011, moviegoers were introduced to Winter, the dolphin whose astounding true story was dramatized in the family film “Dolphin Tale.” She had already been something of a local celebrity at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA), the non-profit marine animal rescue facility on the Gulf Coast of Florida. After the release of the movie, however, her fame grew exponentially, as did her impact on CMA, as well as on people the world over who were inspired by her courage and resilience.

Charles Martin Smith, the director of the original film, who returned to write and direct the sequel, Warner Bros.' new family adventure “Dolphin Tale 2,” offers, “I think it was a combination of factors that caused ‘Dolphin Tale’ to resonate with audiences. The idea that a dolphin could have so desperate an injury and lose her tail, and that a team of strangers would rally around her to save her with a first-of-its-kind prosthetic, was so improbable and yet it’s true. And Winter’s own spirit moved people so deeply. So many have come up to me and said how affected they were by the film. I thought we would touch people with ‘Dolphin Tale’; I didn’t realize how much. It has been truly gratifying.”

Despite its success, the filmmakers never envisioned a sequel to “Dolphin Tale,” as it was based on actual events. Producer Richard Ingber, who had been responsible for bringing Winter’s story to the attention of Alcon Entertainment, explains, “In terms of movies, true stories are usually told and then you go home. We didn’t even have any thoughts that there could be a sequel.”


However, on the very night that the cast and crew had gathered to celebrate the completion of the first film “an event happened that changed everything,” Ingber continues. “We were all at the wrap party when the Aquarium got the call that a baby dolphin was in trouble and needed rescue…and was there any possibility that they could bring her to CMA.”

There were fears the infant dolphin was too young even to survive the trip, but she did, resulting in her new name: Hope.

David Yates, the CEO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and an executive producer on “Dolphin Tale 2,” recounts, “Everything unfolded that night. The fact that Hope came to us during the wrap party of ‘Dolphin Tale’ was incredible enough, but the similarities between Winter’s rescue and Hope’s rescue are unbelievable. They’re both Atlantic bottlenose dolphins; they are both females; they were both about the same age when they arrived; and they were found in the same part of Florida by the same rescue team. The odds of all that happening are so small.”

When the van carrying CMA’s newest resident pulled in, much of the cast and crew were there to witness her being hand carried directly to the pool, where staff members were ready and waiting to care for her.

Harry Connick, Jr. recalls, “Everybody was oohing and aahing because she was just so adorable, never thinking that what we were watching would, in time, prompt a completely new storyline that would bring us back together.”

It wasn’t until months later, when the filmmakers saw the response to “Dolphin Tale,” that they began considering the idea of continuing Winter’s story with the addition of Hope. The baby had been stranded too young to have learned the life skills necessary to survive in the wild, so she, like Winter, will always reside at CMA, where the two have become poolmates.

As with the arrival of Hope, “Dolphin Tale 2” depicts another true and equally life-changing event—the sad passing of Panama, an elderly dolphin who was one of CMA’s most beloved residents and Winter’s surrogate mother. In the film, her death means that Winter will need a new companion, as dictated by the USDA.

Smith says change became a central theme of his screenplay, for both the animals and the humans. “Time goes on and change is inevitable. Children grow up, there is death and new life… We can’t turn back the clock, so we just have to embrace what comes. That’s what this film is about to me.”

Opening across the Philippines on Oct. 08, 2014, “Dolphin Tale 2” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.


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