Articles: TV star finds fame as Nemo




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Just another audition became a blockbuster role of a lifetime
Laurence Washington

A self-described Game Boy fiend, Alexander Gould, 9, says he has several things in common with his alter ego, Nemo, the boy clownfish in the Pixar animated film Finding Nemo.

"Nemo has big brown eyes," Gould says. "I have big brown eyes. And he’s very determined to do what he wants to do, and not what his dad says he should do."

In the film, Nemo is captured by a scuba diver after swimming around the diver’s boat which his overprotective father(Albert Brooks) forbids him to go near. Nemo ends up on display in an aquarium with other fish that had either been captured at sea, or purchased from a nearby pet store.

"Well, he’s determined to get out of that fish tank," Gould says, "and I’m a very determined person too."

Released last month as a twin DVD set, Finding Nemo won praise from even the most hardened film critics during its theatrical release last summer. They hailed it as a computer animated breakthrough film.

"The first time I saw it at a theater," Gould says, "I was with my manager, Mom, Dad and my two sisters. But it was really cool when I saw it later with an audience, and see how everybody else reacts."

Finding Nemo is Gould’s first major motion picture role. He’s a regular on the small screen, guest starring in Malcolm in the Middle, Ally McBeal, Even Steven and Boomtown. So with those shows on his resume,’ Finding Nemo was just another audition for the young actor along with 2,000 other kids.

"We didn’t hear anything, and then a year later we get this call for the call back," Gould says. "I remember that we were late that day, because of traffic. And we thought, ‘That’s OK because there’s always 50 million kids at these auditions."

Gould says he walked in the studio with his mother, actress Valerie Gould, and noticed that there were no other kids waiting to read.

"It was just him," Valerie says. "They were waiting just for him."

Gould says. "They just gave me the script. I didn’t have it ahead of time. I read it cold."

Valerie explains her son had two or three scenes to read, which he did a couple of times.

"The reading was more intense," Valerie says. "Director Andrew Stanton wanted to make sure that he could work with Alexander. Plus, all the Disney executives were out in the other room watching.

"And a couple of months later they booked him," she says. "It was just the quality in his voice that they really liked. And in the call back."

Gould says the process took about a year and a half to complete. He says there was no interaction with the other stars; Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres and Geoffrey Rush. He read his lines alone with Stanton.

"All the actors work by themselves and with Andrew," Gould says. "Then they edited it all together. I thought it was amazing, just so, so cool when I finally saw it.

"Andrew did the voice of the turtle Crash. Nobody really knows that. He kinda keeps it under wraps. But it says that on the DVD."

Gould says since Nemo, he’s kinda found out what it’s like to be a worldwide celebrity. It can be fun, but it’s a lot of work that he’s not use to.

"I’m a normal kid," Gould says. "I like to watch TV — especially Jimmy Neutron. I like to play video games, play outside with my friends. I’m a Game Boy fiend."


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