By now, you and a hundred million dollars’ worth of your closest friends have likely seen “Finding Dory,” the newest hit film from Disney/Pixar. If you have, you may have fallen in love with the standout supporting character Bailey, a beluga whale who resides at the Marine Life Institute because he thinks his biological sonar skills are on the fritz.
Voiced by Ty Burrell, Bailey gets his moment to shine in a pivotal “Dory” moment that has him attempting to overcome his self-prescribed shortcoming by giving his sonar one more shot. The resulting aural offense might be the funniest noise since Baymax’s “fa-la-la,” and much like “Big Hero 6,” Burrell explains that it had to be made up on the fly.
“The script just said ‘make sonar noise,’ it did,” recalls Burrell. “So, knowing that was looming, I would basically practice it in my car.”
Imagine it: You’re in Los Angeles at a red light, and you hear a strange noise. Looking over, you see Ty Burrell, the star of “Modern Family,” making loud noises that sound like some sort of mix between a wounded animal and a deranged siren.
“It was warm, and people had their windows rolled down,” he laughs. “I noticed that as I was pulling up, they would look around. I think they thought there was a clinically-depressed ambulance behind them.”
The whooping noise that Burrell helped create ends up being one of the funniest moments in the film, as Bailey the beluga finally gives in to pressure from Destiny (played by “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” star Kaitlin Olson) and unveils the sonar he’s been avoiding for years — trying to remember how it even works. “It sounds like the life is going out of a siren,” Burrell says of the result. “The invention of that noise ultimately happened in the room. Andrew [Stanton, the director] helped me come up with the final version too.”
Most intriguing, however, may be a “Finding Dory” recording booth outtake that fans can only hope will somehow surface on the Blu-ray as a bonus feature. “They played something for me when Ty wasn’t there,” reveals Olson. “It was a much longer version of the noise than what ended up being in the film. It took him a while to find the noise and get it going, and he was just struggling making [various noises]. I couldn’t stop laughing.”