Behind the Voice of Dottie in Disney PLANES
Best known for her work in Desperate Housewives and numerous movies it may surprise you that Teri Hatcher is no stranger to Disney. In addition to appearances on Jake and the Neverland Pirates she also lends her Voice to Dottie in Disney’s upcoming animated feature PLANES. (Remember I tried my hand at it too? You can see how I did here!)
Teri Lynn Hatcher was born in Palo Alto, California, USA, as the only child of Owen and Esther Hatcher. In high school she was a dancer and then went onto become a member of the 1984 Gold Rush, the professional cheer leading squad of the San Francisco 49ers. She studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco while taking a degree course in mathematics and engineering at De Anza College in Cupertino, California. She became a member of the 1984 Gold Rush, the name of the professional cheer leading squad of the American football San Francisco 49ers before making her acting debut in the tv series The Love Boat. Suffice to say, it was the beginning of a long and successful career so you can imagine my excitement at being able to speak with her about her role as Dottie.
Dottie is a forklift who co-owns and operates Chug and Dottie’s Fill ’n Fly service station. As Dusty’s practical and say-it-like-it-is friend—not to mention his ace mechanic—Dottie hopes to keep his high-flying hopes grounded in reality: Dusty isn’t built to race and chasing his dream is downright dangerous.
As we set around a table talking to Terri via teleconferencing two things became quickly obvious. Not only was she was invested in the movie but she had A LOT to say about it. Her energy and excitement for PLANES and her character was not only evident – it was contagious.
Her Thoughts on Dottie, A Female Mechanic:
I think that that was a really great choice that they made for the movie. I also have to be honest that while I do consider myself as a single mom – I haven’t told the story in a long time, but it does seem to happen very frequently in my real life – a mom can just tell when there’s a tone in their child’s voice that something’s wrong.
And I’ll sort of hear a soft, Mom, and I just know there’s a spider on the wall, but it needs to be removed and my child’s too scared to do it. So while there’s a lot of that kind of quality in me that sort of just something needs to be done, then I’m gonna get it done, and I consider myself fairly tough, I knew nothing about fixing cars, or planes, or mechanics, or anything else. Thank God for Triple A. That’s all I have to say.
I love that she was or is that sort of tough, and smart, and capable, and also friendly and caring. I felt like it was an important piece to the puzzle, of the journey, watching someone that is going out of their comfort zone to reach something they really desire and dream for. Part of you wants to support that, but part of you wants to protect from that. Dottie finds that balancing act – not being too discouraging but not completely being without a voice. “I want you to be safe more than anything.” I think that was a point that needed to be represented in the film.
Connecting With Her Character
Hi, Teri. When you’re not in makeup and costume for a character, do you find it more difficult to connect with that character?
To be honest,I did wear shoes that made me feel like I was grounded and sort of heavy because I feel like, you know, she’s a truck. She’s heavy. She’s not slighty, that was something I really thought about. How do I feel really deep into the ground and connected, like no one’s gonna knock me over. I was a little bit aware of that. When I do on-camera stuff, I find it helps a lot. Sometimes it’s real important for me to even go a rehearsal of a scene in at least part of the wardrobe if not all of it that I would be wearing.
Because I find your shoes make a difference, you know. What you’re wearing sort of can lend itself to the way you might sit on a chair or stand up or not sit on a chair. All those choices that kind of get made in rehearsal sometimes do get informed by what you’re wearing or what your physicality is. So it is important.
Her Favorite Part of Planes:
It’s hard to say because, clearly, the movie is so gorgeous. I was really trying to figure it out how-what is the trick. How do they create this world that just draws you in? They’re not people, but suddenly you let all that go and you just are in this story, and it’s so beautiful and so magical.
But I think my favorite scene is the final cut of it. It makes me laugh remembering the journey of filming it. It was the scene where Dottie is first telling him that he can’t fly. Then she just sort of does this demonstration of what’s gonna happen to him if he doesn’t fly – he’s gonna go to the ground and, you know, smash all the kids in the orphanage. I love that people laugh every time the see that scene.
You can see Disney PLANES for yourself when it touches down in theaters August 9th.