NEW YORK (WABC) --When it comes to memorable roles, actor Ed O'Neill has had a few. He is currently the grumpy but loveable patriarch Jay Pritchett on "Modern Family," and there's the always-exasperated Al Bundy on "Married with Children."
But now, he's voicing an animated character in the new movie "Finding Dory."
His gruff manner has earned him the title of crank-master, and his talents are put to great use in the film.
He is used to working as part of a big ensemble, but in this one, the star was working alone.
"It's almost like you're a kid in a sandbox by yourself, playing, you know?" he said. "You're using your imagination. You have to use your imagination more in that type of setting."
But his octopus Hank is based on a real creature.
"The mimic octopus is one of the most amazing creatures on the planet," he said. "It can change into I don't know how many shapes and colors. It can become a rock."
Dory is looking for her parents, a task made more complicated by the fact that the little fish suffers from short-term memory loss.
"When you arrive, you have a lot of help," O'Neill said. "You've got the writer, the director, couple of producers all there, guiding you through, and you can almost, in my case, hear Ellen's voice as you're doing these scenes."
The "Finding Nemo" sequel is expected to a big hit at the box office.
"There was an awful lot of Dory where they shouldn't be," he said. "People are looking for them. They're sneaking around. They're running. They're swinging from things. There's a lot of energy going on."
"Finding Dory" opens in theaters this weekend, and it comes from Disney Pixar. Disney is the parent company of WABC.