“All I did was teach you not to cover her blowhole,” he says.
“I wouldn’t have known that,” she laughs.
No, that’s not the punchline to a bad joke, it’s part of the easy banter between Dolphin Tale 2’s teen stars Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff. They were preteens when they first worked together on Dolphin Tale, the story of Winter, an injured dolphin rescued by the Clearwater Marine Hospital and fitted with a prosthetic tail.
“My character didn’t really get to go underwater in the first one,” says Cozi, “so it was all, almost, a new experience. Winter and Nathan were the veterans and they taught me and Hope (the second movie’s dolphin star) the ropes.”
Like not covering the blowhole.
Dolphin Tale 2 is a continuation of Winter’s tale. This time around Sawyer and Hazel and the Clearwater Marine Hospital folks search for a companion for the lonely dolphin. “Think about it,” says Nathan, “has there ever been a sequel to a true story? And one that is also true? It’s pretty rare.”
The second movie’s story was inspired by a true event that happened during the wrap party for the first film.
“That’s when we got the call that Hope was rescued,” says Nathan. “We were there and so it feels like we were a little bit part of the story.”
“The truck pulled up and Hope was really carried by hand up to the pool,” says Cozi, “and really lowered into the pool the way you see in the movie. It was incredible. (Dolphin Tale 2) is as true-to-life as you could get without saying it was a wrap party for a movie. That wouldn’t have fit into the story.”
What does fit into the movie is Nathan’s relationship with Winter, a bond formed years ago.
“There was this one moment on the second one where we were just hanging out,” he says. “I did this thing where I tilted my head and said, ‘Hey Winter, how’s it going?’ She bubbled at the surface and sank to the bottom. Her trainer said, ‘That’s really bizarre,’ and then remembered that was one of the behaviours I gave her on the first film and they haven’t done that since the first film. That means she remembers me doing it three years ago, which is really bizarre.”