Let’s Talk More About “Dolphin Tale”

Winter, who plays herself in the movie "Dolphin Tale" gets cared for by a boy named Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) and Dr. Clay Hasket (Harry Connick, Jr.)


Dolphin Tale is a movie that has been inspired by the true story of Winter the dolphin. However, there was an artistic license on the story, including a scene where Sawyer finds Winter stranded on a beach. In reality, she was found by a fishermen in Florida’s Atlantic Coast. The story also focuses on the fictional story of how Sawyer befriended Winter and rally a group to raise money to both save her, and Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Movie magic helped turned CMA into a rundown facility with fake rust painted around the facility. Many props from the movie that were donated to the aquarium after filming ended. Many of the props have stickers indicating that they were props that were used in the movie.

During filming, which began in September 2010, CMA was closed for three months, but the aquarium remained a working animal hospital during the public closing. About 15 minutes after the movie wrapped in December, Clearwater Marine Aquarium received a call of a stranded baby dolphin named Hope, who was found in the exact location where Winter was found, five years and one day to Winter’s rescue. Hope, currently resides in the Dolphin Deck exhibit, the $300,000 pool was used in the movie and was later donated to the aquarium.

More Movie Facts:

  • Filmed from September to December 2010
  • 30 cast members, 250 crew members, and 800 extras
  • Will be released on September 23rd, 2011 nation-wide.
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium CEO David Yates has admitted to starting a movement to get Winter nominated for a “best actress” Oscar nomination.
  • The majority of  the movie was filmed at CMA and other various locations throughout Pinellas County, FL.
  • The movie ran over three days over it’s projected date which is unheard of in Hollywood.

"Dolphin Tale" star Winter during a training session at Clearwater Marine Aquarium

 Facts on the Extras in the movie

  • Extras had to pretend to talk, lip sinc, exaggerate movements, and had to react without hearing the actors.
  • Twenty takes were sometimes required, timing mistakes of movement and backup.
  • Herding extras is like controlling ants. About several hours was spent waiting around for the set to be readied.
  • Extras were paid $75 and were only used to fill in the background holes, and some never even left their holding area to see the sets.
The movie stars Harry Connick Jr., Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Kris Kristopherson and of course Winter as herself. It was produced by Alcon Entertainment with a $40 million budget and distributed by Warner Brothers. The film is also directed by child actor-turned-film director Charles Martin Smith.

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