You aren’t the only one perhaps mystified by a sequel to 2011’s “Dolphin Tale,” which ended with the aquatic mammal that needed a prosthetic tail getting a prosthetic tail.
“When they came up to me to do ‘Dolphin Tale 2,” I thought they were kidding around,” recalls Connick Jr. “How do you make another one of these? And when I read the script I got it.”
For the record, what happened to the real dolphin, named Winter, was that her female mate at the Miami aquarium/hospital at which she resides — and is a major tourist attraction — died. She needed another, lest she become too moody to live there (and due to regulations by a pesky animal inspector, played by the film’s director, Charles Martin Smith).
Reunited with the same cast and characters as the first, Connick Jr. didn’t have to learn anything new, though acting with non-humans — even ones as smart as dolphins — can be tricky. “The dolphins maybe don’t always do what they’re intended to do,” he says. “But when you’re in an environment like this it doesn’t matter. If it takes an hour to shoot something that should have taken half an hour, nobody really cares.”
Connick Jr. doesn’t act too often; he’s too busy with his music and his occasional appearances on “American Idol.” He first started acting in a small role in 1990’s “Memphis Belle.” “I like performing,” he explains. “All the way back when I was a kid I was involved in different kinds of performing, whether it was theater or playing music on stage. It was just a natural progression of what I’ve always done.”
The last three films he’s been in, though, have been family-oriented, including the first “Dolphin Tale.” He can do darker; his acting breakthrough was 1995’s “Copycat,” in which he played a giddy serial killer. “It’s not family films per se that I’m drawn to. Whether I’m doing ‘Dolphin Tale’ or ‘Copycat,’ the thing that draws me is they’re good stories,” he says. “I have no agenda. If the next 10 scripts I read were great family films, I’d do ’em.” If they were all dark, twisted stuff like ‘Bug,” I’d do them too. It doesn’t really matter to me.”
And he really doesn’t have an agenda. “Things happen organically. Projects are born out of a chance meeting or a whim of an idea. That’ll never stop. I never sit down and plan things. Things kind of happen,” he says. “I like variety. I like mixing it up. I like waking up and saying, ‘What are we going to do today?’ I like being a show business nomad.”
As for his role in “Copycat,” when asked why director Jon Amiel thought of the hunky bestselling singer to play a crazed, deranged psychopath, he says he never got an answer. “He never told me, which made me wonder what led him to believe I could do that,” he recalls. “That’s a question I’d like answered at some point.”
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