Dolphin Tale 2’s Nathan Gamble
A Q + A with Nathan Gamble
If you’re anything like us, you’re probably already gotten your tickets for Dolphin Tale 2, the sequel to the critically acclaimed first film. We had the opportunity to sit down with Nathan Gamble, star of both films, to talk about his love of animals, his own dog Nick (pictured below), and his hopes for the future of the Dolphin Tale franchise.
Can you tell us about Nick (age, breed, how you got him) as well as about your family dog?
NG: Nick is a male Puggle that I got from a local breeder in Washington state 5 years ago. Midnight, our Black Lab mix, was a rescue dog that my parents got in Eastern Washington 9 years ago while on a wine tasting trip. They weren't planning on getting a dog but- as fate would have it- at the last winery they stopped at they met a person who had one puppy left from a large litter that they were going to call animal control to remove because they could not take care of another puppy. My folks fell in love with her and the rest is history. Nick and Midnight are best buddies.
Describe your ideal day spent together.
NG: First, Nick always sleeps with me every night. He does not like to be alone. So the day always begins with him scratching at the door to be let out. After breakfast we'll "play fight." Nick loves to chase after me and "tackle me." Then we'll trade off and I'll tackle him. We also like to play hide and seek, too. What I love about Nick is he'll be real mean one moment and the next he'll be all drooling and smiling. He really does smile! We also love to take walks around the block, though in summer it's sometimes too hot for Nick as he is a bit, well, pudgy, shall we say?
Did Nick get a chance to visit you on set?
NG: Not usually, but when I was on a sitcom several years ago he did move down to LA with us. He loved California and actually did a bit of swimming in our pool, too.
What do you love most about dogs?
NG: Their consistency. They are the same today as they will be tomorrow. So no matter what kind of day I've had I know I can come home to my best buddy, Nick, and he can cheer me up and make me smile.
Is there anything that inspired your love of dogs and animals in general?
NG: I love what a dog represents: loyalty and unconditional love. When I have a bad day, what's better than curling up on the couch with your best buddy? Well, maybe a cheeseburger, some fries AND your best friend!
You're a spokesperson for Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Can you tell us why that's important to you? Do you support any other animal causes?
NG: Being a spokesperson for CMA has frankly changed my life. As a spokesperson I've really had my eyes opened to the power of Winter. I've had the pleasure of meeting wounded veterans and kids who've had some real challenges in life. Sure its fun to meet a bunch of fans who are excited to get an autograph or a picture. But to see these kids so sick and in a hospital- some with very little time left to live- well, that really puts life in perspective, you know? Being a spokesman has given me perspective and an overwhelming sense of how blessed I am. Dolphin Tale the movie is fun- but Winter and her impact on those with challenges and her unique power to inspire is the real important thing that I've learned and will always remember… I'm not formally involved in any other animal causes but I am personally a big proponent of spaying and neutering, the work rescue shelters do and the movement to support sustainable, line caught salmon fishing.
A few years ago you worked on one of our favorite dog films, Marley & Me. Can you tell us about the different challenges working with Winter the dolphin compared to the dogs on Marley & Me?
NG: Very different experience. As you might imagine there were several dogs "playing" Marley as the film covers his life from puppy to older dog. So I actually got the pleasure of working with many "Marleys." Working with the dogs was much more controlled as the trainers were closer to the dogs than I was. With Winter in many scenes it was just me and Winter. And some days Winter was into it and other days- like a human- she was more tempermental. But when you're under water things get real quiet. All the hectic hustle and bustle of a big Hollywood movie disappear. Those were the special moments where I felt really connected to this beautiful animal called Winter.
Aside from the Dolphin Tales movies (we LOVED the first one), what has been your favourite role to date and why?
NG: I was in a crazy horror movie called the "Hole" which was directed by Joe "Gremlins" Dante which I loved. I get to play a fun-loving, smart-aleck kid plus do some stunts too. It was released in Europe but, unfortunately never got a wide US release.
Do you have a favourite rescue? If so, which?
NG: I don't, really. So many great stories of folks who have taken a chance on an unfortunate, neglected dog or cat and then realize how many times over their act of compassion pays them back.
What was the funniest thing to happen on set with an animal?
NG: Definitely when we got together at the end of Marley for a cast picture and had all the various dogs who portrayed Marley in one spot. I swear you could sense some jealously amongst the dogs as each one probably was thinking, "Hey, who's this dog think he is? I'm Marley!" Just shows dogs are very much like people!
What is the most important lesson you have learned from working with animals in movies?
NG: It sounds cliché, but they are so much like people, you know? And like a person, if you take the time to learn the unique personalities of your animal co-stars you not only will produce a great film but you might also just make a friend for life like I did with the incredible Winter.
What animal would you not want to work with, if any?
NG: Like Indiana Jones, I'm not fond of snakes. I'm sure they make great pets for some folks- just not me!
What is your ideal next animal co-star?
NG: Hopefully Winter again in Dolphin Tale 3! Honestly, Winter is the ideal animal to work with on camera. She's caring, smart, sensitive and playful. Who could ask for a better co-star?
Catch Dolphin Tale 2, starring Nathan and Winter the Dolphin, in theatres nationwide on September 12th!