MODERN Family star Ty Burrell says Pixar films help him to parent.
The funny man, who stars in the new Finding Nemo sequel Finding Dory, was introduced to Pixar's famous ocean film by his two daughters.
He was surprised to find how well his girls handled the film's opening scene when Nemo's mother and siblings are killed by a barracuda.
"It starts off with a very serious theme of loss, this very serious idea, and I was incredibly nervous about what my kids' reaction was going to be," he told APN.
"I got such a lesson about their ability to handle ideas. It was very matter-of-fact for them. Pixar is just so good they can actually help your parenting. Pixar is for lazy parents everywhere. It helped me to talk to my kids about stuff. It also helps these movies are so funny. It's a safe place for kids to learn about big things.
"Even before my time, which takes a lot of years, going all the way back to Bambi they just start right off with the heavy stuff. Disney and Pixar are not afraid of that stuff and there's some real wisdom there."
Burrell is currently in Sydney promoting the long-awaited sequel.
He revealed when he was last in the harbour city two years ago to film a special Australian episode of Modern Family, he had time to visit the Great Barrier Reef and meet "Nemo".
"I went scuba diving up at the Great Barrier Reef when we were shooting that episode and it was the first time I'd ever scuba dived. I had an incredible experience," he said.
"The (dive) instructors clearly get that question a lot, you know, will we get to see a Nemo or a Dory fish?
"I did see those fish when I was diving and it's a funny twist of fate now that I'm in the movie."
Burrell voices Bailey, a neurotic beluga whale with sonar on the fritz who lives next to whale shark Destiny at a Californian marine institute where Dory is looking for her family.
"Googling beluga whales turned out to be a fool's errand because as soon as I got into the recording studio they were very nice about whatever little research I had done and were like 'we just want you to try to be funny'," he said.
"I'm not necessarily a hypochondriac but I relate to Bailey's neurosis 100 percent. He's a whale with a bit of self doubt and Destiny is a very lovely friend who pushes him."
Burrell's Modern Family co-star Ed O'Neill voices grumpy octopus Hank, who is integral to the plot of Finding Dory.
"Ed's one of my favourite people in the world and we basically were operating on the set of Modern Family for months without knowing either one of us were in Finding Dory," he said.
"We then spent the next few months talking about how much fun we were having. This movie is essentially a biopic of Ed. His character Hank is just totally Ed; he admits it. I feel like the next sequel should be all about Hank."
Finding Dory is in cinemas now.