Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, the stars of Dolphin Tale 2, were in Chicago promoting the film on August 22, 2014.
Sarah Knight Adamson: Well, first of all, I would like to congratulate both of you on reprising your roles in Dolphin Tale 2.
Cozi Zuehlsdorff: Thank you.
Nathan Gamble: Thank you.
SKA: You’re so welcome. As you know, this is such a wonderful, heartwarming family story, and I know fans from the first movie will just be so happy to go and see this film. So, I was wondering how old were you when you completed Dolphin Tale?
NG: We were both twelve.
SKA: Okay, so, how old are you now?
NG: We are sixteen.
SKA: Sixteen, okay, great. What did you learn in the first movie that helped you with your role in the second one?
NG: That’s a great question.
CZ: I think we’ve learned, for one thing, how important the story was to tell, which gave us even more inspiration and motivation.
SKA: Can you speak to your roles a little bit, as far as the expansion of them, and maybe how they’ve changed a little bit in the second movie?
NG: Well I think Sawyer, he’s definitely changed because this takes place three years later, and he’s finally found something that he’s really, truly passionate about, and that’s the aquarium. He’s an employee there, he’s doing something that he loves and helping animals; he’s doing it with really good friends, with his best friend, Winter. He’s changed, too, because he realized he’s taken his first baby steps, I guess, toward being an adult.
CZ: Yeah, I feel generally for Hazel, she’s finally finding her voice as an individual, and really forming her own opinions and relationship with her dad that’s growing into something new and just as beautiful.
SKA: Oh, that’s amazing. So, Cozi, you were able to sing in this film.
CZ: Yeah, I wrote and performed the song, “Brave Soul” for the end credits of the movie.
SKA: Oh, my goodness. Can you talk about that for a little bit?
CZ: Sure, well, it was such an honor to be approached for this opportunity. But the song, “Brave Soul,” is out right now, on iTunes, and the music video is on Fandango. I wanted to send the message to anyone, all brave souls of the world.
SKA: That is wonderful. You know, I did interview your director Charles Martin Smith three years ago, in 2011.
NG: He’s great.
SKA: He talked about the music in the first film, how important it was. And he also, Nathan, talked about you, and how your role was really the focal point of the movie. So, your relationship with Winter, of course, was the main theme then, I was wondering what you might say the main theme of this movie would be?
NG: There’s so many little things that really shape this movie. I think the main thing, though, is letting go. Winter teaches Sawyer, that what’s very important to learn is to let go and move on, and to realize that change is not always going to be a bad thing, it can be a good thing sometimes, and that we need to accept that and learn that life is full of possibilities.
CZ: Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.
SKA: Yes, I like that, too. So, Cozi, did you ever sing off-screen, with Harry Connick, Jr., or Kris Kristofferson?
CZ: Oh, a little bit, not as much with Kris, they’re both very modest people, so, yeah, I have some really special memories that will always remain in my heart. Harry was such an amazing musical mentor to me. Since I also play piano he would give me a lot of advice on that and show me the ropes. It was really incredible.
SKA: That’s fantastic. So, Nathan, how did it feel to reunite with Winter, the dolphin?
NG: I was so excited. I really connected with Winter during the first movie and I loved spending time with her because, you realized how special Winter is and how easy it is to connect to her. It’s something that I’ll always cherish, for the rest of my life. I was so excited to do it all over again.
SKA: Oh, that’s amazing. What were those scenes like, actually swimming with her in the pool? What were those like?
NG: It was – you know, a lot of people, when they go up to me, and they say, it was so cool, when you were swimming with Winter and doing all those cool things, like foot pushes, or when she is pulling you, when you’re holding on to her dorsal fins and she pulls you out of the pool. I mean, that stuff is really fun, and I’m really honored and blessed that I got to do that, but my favorite moment with Winter is just when it’s me and her, under water. It’s very calm, very peaceful. It’s just me and her and that cute whistle sound that she makes. We’re just sort of in an embrace, a hug, and there’s nothing quite like that moment.
SKA: Sure. Oh, that’s wonderful. And how about you, Cozi, what are some memories of filming with Winter that you would like to share?
CZ: It was so amazing to have my dreams come true. In the first movie, I didn’t really get to swim with the dolphins that much, and in the second one, I get to do it so much, and I’m so grateful for that.
SKA: That is wonderful. Well, I have to ask about Morgan Freeman, because he is such a film legend. I was wondering, to simplify this, if you could maybe tell me, together, maybe three or four words that describe his personality off the screen. Not his character, but him. What’s he like?
NG: Four words to describe Morgan, humble, talented, as we all know.
SKA: Nathan, what do you like to do in your spare time?
NG: You know, there are a lot of things I like to do. I like to watch baseball and football, and play those sports with my dad, that is something that I love doing. And, also, I’m not going to lie, I’m a huge gamer.
SKA: So, Cozi, what have you learned by being the spokesperson for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium?
CZ: I’ve developed a lot in terms of empathy, I guess, and more perception and insight into how kids feel, the kids who have such big life challenges, army veterans, and all the people who are inspired by Winter. Actually, Nathan is also a spokesperson, so, as spokespeople I think we both feel that way.
SKA: Oh, fantastic, I wasn’t aware that both of you were, that’s wonderful.
NG: Yeah, Cozi’s been a spokesperson for a couple of years now; this is my first year.
SKA: Sure, oh that’s great. That would be so wonderful for you to really meet some of the people and really be hands-on with that, you know, this is a reality here, what you filmed, but yet, you’re taking it a step further.
NG: That’s a good way to put it.
SKA: What message do you hope people take away from Dolphin Tale 2?
NG: There are so many messages that people can relate to, in the movie – whether you’re a kid, a teenager, a parent, or grandparent, but one that really sticks out for me, is for the teenagers. Try to enjoy your childhood and then when you realize that it’s time to take those next steps into adulthood, just remember that it’s not going to be bad, it’s not a bad thing.
CZ: Yeah, and like you were saying before, taking a leap of faith can be good, and embracing change, these are all great messages. Also, it touches on themes like teamwork and, at the same time, finding your own voice. It’s really got some great messages.
SKA: Yes. So, my last question – is there anything else you’d like to say about Dolphin Tale 2?
NG: If you liked the first one, I guarantee you’re going to love the second one.
CZ: Yeah, the great response we’ve been getting and we’re so grateful to everyone who supported the first one, so that’s really our message. Thank you so much and we hope you enjoy it.
SKA: I’m a champion of the first film, that’s for sure. I want to thank you so much for speaking with me, and I want to give you all the best of luck with this film.
NG: Thanks, Sarah.
Sarah Knight Adamson © August 22, 2014