It’s like a ninja warrior, or maybe a T-1000 Terminator. This creature blends into a tile wall or contorts itself into the shape of a potted plant or a stairway railing. And then it springs into action, scrambling down a hallway and leaping from ceiling pipe to ceiling pipe.
Meet Hank the octopus. In “Finding Dory,” he’s a cranky orange (or beige or striped or whatever) aquarium denizen voiced by Ed O’Neill (who plays cranky Jay on “Modern Family”). And he’s based on a real thing: the mimic octopus.
In real life it disguises itself as other creatures — say a poisonous sea snake or fearsome lionfish — to ward off predators. It camouflages itself against any background: a sandy sea bottom or spiky coral reef. And its arms are covered in suckers so it can go anywhere and manipulate objects.
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To create Hank, Disney filmmakers studied real octopuses at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and San Francisco’s California Academy of Sciences.
“Its ability to camouflage and their knack for opening enclosures and slipping through the smallest of cracks was unbelievable,” producer Lindsey Collins said in a studio statement. “We heard stories about an octopus escaping in the middle of the night. The security guard would think it’s a piece of trash in the hallway, until he’d reach down to pick it up. It was like a horror film.
“These guys are crazy smart and completely unique.”
Hmm, sounds like the makings of a sequel: “Finding Hank”?