A tall tail tale

After she lost her tail, Winter the dolphin is now a movie star

A tall tail tale

Barry Bland/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Aquariums aren’t generally the sorts of places to host a red-carpet movie screening, but on Sept. 21, Florida’s Clearwater Marine Aquarium will be an exception, and with good reason: one of its residents is a movie star. Winter the dolphin appears alongside Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. in the upcoming film Dolphin Tale, which tells the true story of Winter—a dolphin with a prosthetic tail.

Rescued after she got wrapped up in a crab-trap line at just three months old, Winter lost her tail and two vertebrae. Transported to the aquarium, she underwent intense rehabilitation—and was fitted for a prosthetic tail attached by a stretchy plastic sleeve, like those designed for human use. “She learned on her own to swim in a new way,” says David Yates, the aquarium’s CEO.

The plucky dolphin is already a star attraction at the Clearwater aquarium, and with the release of the film, attendance should boom. “Every aquarium in the country says it’s hopeless,” one grim-faced character says in the preview, and another replies: “Well, they haven’t met Winter yet.” No word yet on whether Winter’s castmates will show up for the aquarium screening.