Not Your Average Hope

“When they sent me the script, I was like holy crap this is good,” Harry Connick Jr. said.

While the wrap party for the first “Dolphin Tale” was underway, there was an emergency call about an adolescent dolphin Hope who was rescued by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Director and actor Charles Martin Smith went back to the hotel instead of attending the event and around 11 p.m. a call came in about a rescue.

“After the first movie none of us thought there really would be a sequel. If you did a sequel bringing in of Hope would have to be part of it,” said Smith. “One of the things about “Dolphin Tale” that really impressed people, and I think that it’s really strong, the original movie is a true story.”

If there was going to be a second film, it needed to be based on a true story. Still there was not enough material for a movie even with the news of Hope. Smith had actual footage of a dolphin released into the wild, but cut it out of the first film as it did not fit into the story. He also had a video that paired Winter and Panama in the tank. So Smith started to create the script and called the actors immediately for a commitment.

Harry Connick Jr. (Dr. Clay Haskett) was told by an Alcon Entertainment that a script was being written for the second movie, the American Idol judge and musician laughed it off, initially.


“When they sent me the script, I was like holy crap this is good,” Connick laughed. “In some ways it’s better than the first one, it’s more complex than the first one.”

Returning is Morgan Freeman for a brief appearance as Dr. Cameron McCarthy, Ashley Judd as Lorrain Nelson, Nathan Gamble will play Sawyer Nelson and Cozi Zuehlsdorff as Hazel Haskett.

The first movie was based on Winter’s rescue when she lost her tail in a crab trap. She survived because of a ground-breaking prosthetic tail and remarkable perseverance that’s become a symbol to many with disabilities. The film gave CMA a world stage that helped fund the aquarium and built a hospital for marine life and up to 750,000 thousand in visitors a year. In this movie, Winter senses that her surrogate mother Panama is ill and went into a depression after she died.

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