True story: a dolphin named Winter got its tail caught in a crab trap. It survived but had to have its tail amputated. How can a dolphin swim without a tail? It can’t. . . BUT it got a prosthetic tail and now Winter can swim fine! You can read about the story in a book called Winter’s Tail, and coming in September, you can see the movie based on the story called Dolphin Tale.
If you love dolphins, we have a special surprise for you at the end of this blog post but first, here is Nathan Gamble, the 13-year-old star of the movie to talk about what it was like to make the movie.
Q: Tell me about your character in Dolphin Tale.
Nathan: Sawyer is a pretty shy, a little moody and quiet character. But when he gets committed to an idea he becomes very strong, passionate and dedicated to seeing it to the finish.
Q: Are you similar to him in any ways? In real life, do you think you would be friends?
Nathan: I’m not too much like him, really. I’m pretty outgoing and like to laugh and am pretty social. But I think we might be friends, too, as I would respect his loyalty to his family and his cause. He becomes the kind of person people want to follow in the end.
Q: This movie is based on a true story. Did you meet the real Sawyer Nelson?
Nathan: Well. . . there really wasn’t a Sawyer Nelson. Winter was actually found by an adult. A little creative license, I think.
Q: Which scene was the most fun to shoot? Which scene was the hardest?
Nathan: Filming with Harry Connick, Jr. was really the highlight of the shoot for me. He is such a funny, personable and nice guy. He took me to a Tampa Bay/New Orleans Saints game during the filming in Florida and later he got me a Drew Brees autographed football which was awesome. Hardest? Probably having to hold my breath for so long! And then when it got colder the water was really tough to be in for hours at a time, too.
Q: Can you describe the experience of swimming with a dolphin? What are dolphins like?
Nathan: Well, if you can imagine playing with your dog underwater, that is what it is like. They are so fun-loving and so affectionate and smart, too. They learn tricks incredibly fast and have a great memory.
Q: What was the most memorable experience you had with Winter, the dolphin?
Nathan: After a while Winter became protective of me so when someone else would come in the pool, Winter would get between me and the new person as if to say, “He’s my buddy, keep your distance, stranger!” That and the fact that Winter never got tired of spitting water in my face, too. And then he’d laugh that crazy, squeaky dolphin laugh. It must have been like a joke that is always funny no matter how many times you hear it, you know?
Oh my goodness! The dolphin was laughing at him?! That’s so cool/crazy!
If you want to know more about dolphins, you’re in luck because. . . the actual dolphin trainers who work with Winter at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida will be here to answer YOUR questions! If you have any questions about Winter’s real life experience with a fake tail, what it’s like to swim with dolphins, or just how awesome it is to work at an aquarium, now is your chance to ask and maybe get your question answered by a real dolphin trainer.
UPDATE: The dolphin trainer from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium replied! You can read her answers to your questions here.