Dolphin Tale – An Interview With Cozi Zuehlsdorff

by Yo Snyder

Dolphin Tale was a movie that surprised me. I thought the
previews looked fairly cheesy, but it seemed like something that my kids
would enjoy, so I figured we’d go see if it was any good as a family.
Surprisingly, it was pretty good. Granted, it’s not going to win any
Oscars any time soon, but it has a lot of heart, it’s based on a
fascinating true story, and in the end turned out to be a really
enjoyable movie for the whole family. Now, with Dolphin Tale
hitting Blu-Ray and DVD just in time for Christmas, it makes for the
perfect family gift. One of my fellow radio personalities, Leigha
Harvey, recently had a chance to chat with Cozi Zuehlsdorff, one of the
charming kids stars of the movie, and was kind enough to share a few
insights about the making of the film.

Leigha: What was it like working with Winter? Were you ever scared or nervous working with a live dolphin?

Working with Winter was just an amazing experience. There was really
never a time where I was scared at all, she was always really gentle,
sweet and playful. The only time I ever felt scared was the scene where
we’re all floating by on pool mats and the only reason I was little
nervous was that Winter was having so much fun that when her trainer was
lying on the mats too and were testing it, she would jump up on her
trainer and like slam down on her trainer and she doesn’t know how heavy
she is, you know, she weighs like 250 pounds, so I was little nervous
she would do that to me but she didn’t.

Leigha: What part of making this movie will you never forget? What was your favorite experience?

Hmm. Well, I had so many favorite experiences, it’s hard to name them
all. It was a lot of fun shooting the night shoot where we were
pretending to have a sleep over at the aquarium. That was a lot of fun.
We were making a lot of jokes and Harry and Nathan made me laugh the
whole time and it was a lot fun and we were all really tired so we were
all having a lot of fun.

Leigha: So here’s a question that’s a
little more random, but do you still keep in touch with Winter? Do see
her, Facebook her, get updates on her or anything like that? 

Umm, that’s a good question. I’m actually going to go to the aquarium
pretty soon here and do some publicity for the aquarium and stuff so
I’ll be able to see her then. It’s a lot fun just to look, I look on her
web cam every once and awhile on the website and see how she’s doing
and how the other dolphins are and things like that.

Leigha: Did you learn any good acting tips from Morgan Freeman?

Oooh, yeah. I guess to always stay focused and to really take your job
seriously to where even a glance can be in character. He taught me that,
kind of. He doesn’t teach like, he doesn’t give advice like just giving
it but you can learn so much from just watching him, it’s really cool.

Okay, this is just something I’m curious about, how many times was your
co-star Harry Connick Jr. asked to asked to sing a song on set and did
you ask him to sing? 

Cozi: You know what, he…there was…I can
remember two times where he hummed a little bit of a song, but really,
no one ever asked him to sing, I mean he would sing but he would never
like serenade us, you know? He’s a great guy who’s really down to earth
so a lot times he’d just make us laugh and stuff, he’s so funny. Oh my
goodness, he’s hysterical, and he had everyone just rolling on the floor
with all the funny things he’d do, and so there was a lot of just
having fun and doing, you know, whatever felt right. 

Leigha: So,
was it hard to do the scenes when you were in the water? Was it cold,
did it effect you doing your lines while trying to stay afloat and that
kind of thing?

Cozi: Well you know, a lot of the scenes, everyone
of my scenes I’m never just in the water I’m always on a little stand in
the water because that’s what the trainers do. They sit on this thing
or platform and train the dolphins from there a lot. And so, it was more
being really, really cold and not being able to tread water because
that kind of spooks the dolphins, kind of like with a horse when you
make a lot of wild movements. And so it was more about trying to stay
warm while sitting, you know, just sitting in the water. 

Leigha: Hmm, I wouldn’t have thought of that; treading water scaring the dolphins. That’s an interesting fact. 

Cozi: And it distracts them too from their trainers are trying to get them to do. 

Well, if I ever go swimming with dolphins now I will know staying still
is better. What’s the one thing you hope people will never forget about
this movie?

Cozi: Hmm. I hope they’ll take away from it to never
give up hope and to remember that family is forever and you need to
cherish the moments you spend with your family. And to just identify
with Winter and always remember her story.

Leigha: Do you have any movies this year or are coming out next year that you’re really looking forward to seeing?

Well, I just saw Hugo, which was really a fantastic film, that one’s
great. And I’m looking forward to seeing all the fantastic movies coming
out. I know Journey to the Center of the Earth 2 is coming out, and I
loved the first one, so hopefully the second one will be just as good. 

Leigha: Any chances of a sequel with Dolphin Tale?

Umm, there are a couple of thoughts on it, but right now there’s really
nothing major going on. I hope so, you know. We could use some prayer
over here, that’d be so much fun to come back and see everyone. 

Well, on behalf of all of us, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas to
you and everyone from the movie and thank you so much for your time

Cozi: Thank you so much.

Dolphin Tale releases Tuesday, December 20th on Blu-Ray and DVD, but if you’d like to pick up a free copy, just leave a comment about your favorite thing about dolphins, and we’ll pick some winners from those comments to receive a copy of Dolphin Tale courtesy of Grace Hill Media.