While much of the country was in the grip of sub-freezing temperatures, a group of online journalists (myself included) were lucky enough to visit the set of Dolphin Tale 2 in Clearwater, Florida. Writer-director Charles Martin Smith returns for the sequel, which also features returning cast members Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Nathan Gamble, and Cozi Zuehlsdorff to name a few. Of course, Winter the Dolphin is back in her scene-stealing role at the center of the extended family drama which includes not just the human cast, but their animal patients as well.
Hit the jump to check out the first images from the film and for a preview of our set visit to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, which we’ll reveal in full closer to Dolphin Tale 2′s September 19th release date.
The first thing you should know about Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and the hospital that shares its name in Dolphin Tale 2, is that the facility is not a theme park or attraction that sells tickets to animal shows. It’s a non-profit organization with a mission to rescue, rehabilitate, and release marine organisms. Certain animals, like the famous Winter, are unfit to be released back into the wild, and so they find a permanent home at the aquarium. The facility sees its fair share of marine animals, including dolphins, stingrays, otters, and quite a few injured sea turtles. For more on the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, check out their website.
I was having about as much fun touring the facility and visiting the animals as the cast was being back on set. Everyone we talked to was thrilled to return to the aquarium to tell the continuing story of the organization and the animals they helped to rehabilitate. Here’s a look at the talent interviews we have coming your way later this summer:
- Individual interviews with Freeman and Connick, Jr., who play the doctors who get to perform hands-on treatment of the animals.
- Individual interviews with Gamble and Zuehlsdorff, the child stars who have grown up quite a bit since the first film.
- Individual interviews with the Austin Highsmith and Austin Stowell.
- An interview with special guest star, American professional surfer Bethany Hamilton.
- An interview with Oscar-nominated producer, Andrew A. Kosove.
- Plus, an interview with Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO and executive producer, David Yates.
Check out the rest of the Dolphin Tale 2 images below. Click to enlarge.