Aurora actor, 11, voices lead role in new Pixar film

Rising star Hayden Rolence

Keeping a secret is difficult for most people, and especially for young boy and especially when the secret he is forbidden to reveal to anyone is mighty big, like being a star in a major movie. 

But now, two years later, and with the announcement of the film, the secret can be told.

Eleven year old actor Hayden Rolence of Aurora voices the role of Nemo in Disney Pixar Animation’s “Finding Dory,” the all-star, 3D sequel to the studio’s 2003 blockbuster, “Finding Nemo.”

Budgeted at $185 million, the film will be released in June, 2016.

Ellen DeGeneres reprises her role as Dory, the blue tang fish with short-term memory loss, who decides she must find her long lost parents and ends up in a marine institute where animals are cared for.

Hayden, now 11 and starting sixth grade at Still Middle School in Aurora, had just turned nine years old when his talent agency, Shirley Hamilton, Inc, responded to an LA breakdown service seeking children’s voices for an innocuously-titled animated film.

The agency sent MP3s of several candidates in response. “There was a lot of back-and-forth between us and then Hayden was booked,” competing with nearly 100 boys between the ages of four and 14 to win the part, says Lynne Hamilton, who has presided over the agency since 2000.

“Hayden won the role and all of us, his parents and our staff, everyone involved, signed non-disclosure agreements and couldn’t even breathe it until the film was ready to be announced,” Hamilton says. 

“After waiting for two years, we learned about ‘Dory’s’ upcoming release online last week.”

Hayden didn’t start recording his part until six months after he was signed. During the following 18 months of recording, he made seven trips to Pixar Studios in San Francisco and one to Disney Studios in LA.   

“His voice had to match the original Nemo’s voice, so he had some coaching at the sessions,” Hamilton adds.

At 11, Hayden is a seasoned actor. When he was six, his parents, Jason, a portfolio manager, and mother, Marlene, a beauty salon owner, registered him with the Hamilton agency.

(Their nine-year old daughter, Meadow, an actress/model also with the agency, is currently featured on Walgreen’s in-store back to school banners.)

Jason Rolence says he’s constantly amazed at his son’s acting abilities. “Hayden was reading at six.  He has a photographic memory and he’s a remarkable mimic. I don’t know how he learns, he just does it. He’s got an ear for copying what’s being said.  Everyone says he sounds like a natural.”

Hayden has appeared in commercials, indie films and in print ads. “He’s very professional for a child his age,” says Hamilton film and TV agent KaCee Hudson.  “He smiles and says ‘thank you’ to the client when the audition is over.  He works really hard and he’s got it together.”

The Rolence family is the perfect acting family, says Hamilton. “When you have a child actor you also register the parents they have a huge role in their child’s career. Their professionalism is 50 percent of Hayden’s success. They’re fabulous.”

Lynne Hamilton can be reached at 312/787-4700; email,