Dolphin Tale 2 picks up a couple of years after the first film but stars a brand-new baby dolphin. Actors Nathan Gamble, Austin Highsmith and Cozi Zuehlsdorff were 12 when they made the first movie. Now, they're all sweet 16.
"Everyone is back — the film is a little more dramatic than the first one, which is exciting. We've grown up with the audience. There's a new little dolphin named Hope— she's super-cute and everything's true. This is the first real-life sequel that's ever been done," said Highsmith.
As for the plot of the film, it's based on real events.
"We rescued the baby dolphin on the night of the wrap party of the first movie. We're literally making a movie about an experience we had while making the first movie and I don't think that's ever been done," said Zuehlsdorff.
One unexpected ocean lover joining the cast is surf champion and shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton. "She makes an amazing cameo. She and Winter hit it off instantly," said Gamble.
We were surprised to find out that it isn't Harry Connick Jr. always singing on set. Instead, "It's Morgan! He has a beautiful voice," said Gamble.
"He's the nicest guy. He's as great as you'd want him to be. He just hangs out with the crew — he's really cool," added Highsmith.
With all the controversy about SeaWorld's treatment of killer whales, we wanted to know how the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the real facility featured in the film, differs in their treatment of sea life.
"CMA, the aquarium that's in the movie, is a rescue/rehab facility. If there's any way for them to release an animal, they will. The only ones that stay there permanently are the ones that would die in a matter of days after being released," said Zuehlsdorff.
Gamble jumped in, adding, "Dolphin Tale 2 is about our release work, and it's about the conflict of getting attached to a dolphin and not wanting to release it."
Zuehlsdorff wanted to make one thing clear. "We can't even be compared to SeaWorld because we're nothing like it. It's like apples and oranges. A lot of people think that SeaWorld produced our movie and that couldn't be farther from the truth. Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. did our film. We have the utmost respect for the care they give at SeaWorld, we're not saying anything bad about them, but we are in no way affiliated at all with them."
Dolphin Tale 2 releases Sept. 12.
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