This past Saturday, Nuke the Fridge were invited to take part in Disney’s Big Hero 6 press day event for the Blu-ray release. I (Chris Salce) had the opportunity to represent Nuke The Fridge for the event and did some round table interviews with Ryan Potter (voice of Hiro Hamada), Daniel Henney (voice of Tadashi Hamada), Scott Adsit (voice of Baymax), and directors Chris Williams and Don Hall. The cast and creators talked about the characters, the Stan Lee cameo and if there is a sequel in the works. Here were some of the highlights of the interviews…
Q to Potter and Henney: Did the two of you have the opportunity to get to know each other or work together to establish the brotherly tone?
Potter: The first time we met was the first time we actually saw the film at the cast screening. The only person I worked with was Maya Rudolph, very briefly. But yeah, finding that tone is difficult, especially when we don’t have brothers in real life and that’s really attributed to the creators of the film. Don [Hall] and Chris [Williams] did a phenomenal job at setting the tone.
Q to Potter and Henney: Voicing this, did you have any idea the the film was going to blow up as much as it has?
Henney: Well when I first went into it, I saw the concept art and obviously with Disney you have an idea of what it can be. They’ve been pretty hot lately with their films. I saw how different it was, how risky it was and saw who they were casting for it. For me, it felt very different for me from the start. I thought if it was done right and well, it was going to have a heck of a lot potential and luckily, they did that. It’s reaching all those expectations.
Q to Potter and Henney: How exciting is it for the two of you to be in an Oscar-nominated film?
Potter: It’s unreal. It’s been wish fulfilling to even be a part of the film. People ask like ‘what interested you on taking the roles of these characters?’ It’s like, don’t get it twisted, we are grateful that they even had us come in for the audition and then they chose us. I actually don’t think I know how it important it is. I’m just happy that internationally it’s doing well, it’s translating. The story and the characters are loved by audiences around the world and kind of everything that’s come after that has been kind of secondary to the initial response.
Henney: The Oscars, obviously it’s a different thing all together and I’m not a big texter but I’ll text my mom and certain people in my life. I texted people that we got an Oscar now. It was the first time where like if I didn’t get a response I was like ‘why are you not texting back?!’ (Laughs). It’s a big deal you know, so it changed me. It’s super super special. I never thought in my life that this would happen to me and I’m glad to be a part of it.
Q to Potter and Henney: Is it rewarding to be in a cast of well-written characters and such a diverse group of characters?
Potter: This film is a perfect example of what the United States looks like. I look around this table and I don’t see the same face over and over. I don’t see the same hair color, I don’t see the same eyes and you know, this is what the United States looks like and we need more television, more film, that represents that. ‘Big Hero 6’ is ground-breaking. It’s one of the first Disney films that has a multicultural character in it. It’s one of the first blockbuster films with an Asian-American lead at the head of it and it’s very important, not only to the Asian-American community but to the other mixed raced communities around the world.
Henney: It’s also really special because in terms of the strength in the characters as well, like there’s very strong female leads and very strong male leads and for a long time, myself as an Asian-American actor, I felt like we get marginalized at times and the male characters can be desexualized and not seem charismatic, capable or intelligent as we could be or too intelligent, we are just one note. It’s nice to see these guys. It’s nice to see Tadashi and Hiro, very strong young men and capable of doing good things.
Q to Potter and Henney: What do you think the film tells kids today about loss?
Potter: With Baymax, Hiro finds that person he can talk to and he can heal in a very healthy way. Over the course of the film, Hiro finds that what he’s doing is fueled by the wrong emotions. Finding one person like Baymax that you trust whole heartedly and you can talk to them honestly.
Henney: I think all of us probably have tendencies at times, especially as men, to turn inwards when you’re faced with tragedy like that and that’s what Hiro does initially. I think it’s important that this film tells you that it’s not only your immediate family but it’s your friends that can become that support system for you. It’s a beautiful thing that you can fall in love and love your friends just as much as family.
Q: How do you see the film now that it’s this humungous hit?
Adsit: It’s like fulfilling my greatest fantasies about it. I don’t ever go into anything expecting anyone to even notice anything I’ve done. And so when anything I do gets recognition, It’s amazing. I’m a very small part of this to be sure but to see the posters on the sides of buildings with Baymax on it…Baymax wasn’t necessarily the center of the film and he still isn’t, Hiro is the center but Baymax has become the face of the film. Knowing that I’m a very small part of that is hugely rewarding.
Q: Baymax is such a lovable character. He has so many great qualities. Is there anything in particular that you like about Baymax?
Adsit: I like how much he loves Hiro. I like that his whole existence is to be sure that Hiro is safe. He’s like a parent but he’s also like a child and like a brother. He’s like family.
Q: How do you prepare for a role like this, since he’s a robot and not really supposed to show emotion and yet, in the film, you really can feel emotion from the robot?
Adsit: We decided early on that he is just a robot, a very well programmed robot and that any emotion that he has would probably be projected on him by the audience. I think that’s generally what happens although, I’m skating a line of emotion where I’m doing my best to stay on a straight line of just being a robot and then I’m lean on either side. Just that tiny little window of emotion is a flood gate for anyone watching, while I do very little, the audience is doing a lot of the work. I think by the end, he does have an emotional life but you can’t prove it. He might have a soul but you won’t find it if you opened him up.
Q: Is it special to get to be a part of Baymax, which kids get to see and love?
Adsit: Yeah. At a panel we did at Comic-con in New York, a woman came up to me and said ‘Can my daughter say hello to you?’ I said ‘Sure.’ This little girl came over, she’s like three years old. She was so excited. I went down to her level and she said ‘I love Baymax because he heals people.’ And that’s very simple. I get really emotional at that because she gets it. She doesn’t see Baymax as anything other than he’s meant to be, which is lovable and helpful.
Q: Is there any sequels, any series coming up?
Williams: We really haven’t talked about it at all. This was a very challenging, very complex story to crack and so you invest everything have into the one thing and you’re not afforded the opportunity to say ‘You know what would be great for a sequel?’ The only way it would happen is if it’s there’s someone really excited about it.
Hall: I’m a little superstitious about that kind of stuff. I feel like you’ve got to put everything you got into telling one story and if the fates align, people love your movie and there’s a desire, then that’s a different story. But to have a sit down and to think like you are gonna create a trilogy, I think that’s real dangerous thinking cause you really need to put all your effort into that first film.
Q: Did Stan Lee know you were going to use his cameo in the film or was it a surprise to him?
Hall: He knew the painting because we had to get that cleared. The tag came a little late after we seen Guardians [of the Galaxy].
Williams: Him being a painting was always a part of the movie. We talked about wanting to put a tag in the film because even though it’s a Disney film, people knew there would be a little Marvel DNA in there. The last thing we wanted was for people to wait there after the movie and find nothing. We knew we needed a real good one. We made it a decision to keep it from our crew.
Hall: That’s our biggest achievement, I think. The fact that we were able to keep the credit tag a secret from our crew. We had about twenty people that had to know. Obviously, it needed to be animated but we had a skeleton crew. We had code names, it was on a different server. We managed to keep it secret until the wrap party.
Q: In regards to the Blu-ray, what are you guys looking most forward to people experiencing?
Hall: For me it’s the animation bloopers.
Williams: There’s some really fun bloopers, there’s some great deleted scenes. There’s a really well done documentary that gives you some real insight into the making of the film.
Speaking of the bonus features included in the Blu-ray, there’s an absolutely amazing Disney short called “Feast,” which will make you laugh and cry. It really is an awesome short.
The press event was very amazing. The actors and directors were all very kind and it was a great experience.
Big Hero 6 hits Blu-ray Feb. 24.