The filmmakers of “Big Hero 6” set out to create a movie that balances action, humor and emotion, but according to producer Roy Conli—it’s not necessarily an even split. “When all is said and done, heart and humor are so important to us—we want to make sure that the action always has meaning—an emotional context to live in. Emotion and humor tend to come along with the action in ‘Big Hero 6.’”
At its core, of course, is the budding bond between Hiro and Baymax. Says director Chris Williams, “The movie is really about the two of them coming together. We decided early on that the central relationship would be between Hiro and Baymax as Hiro struggled to deal with the loss of his brother. While we want the story to be really fun and funny, at the same time, there’s this emotional depth and resonance, that is pretty far beyond what people might expect.”
The genesis of “Big Hero 6” lies in the Marvel vaults, though filmmakers say the comic-book series was small and not widely known. “When I was a kid, I loved Marvel comics,” says Hall. “I was encouraged to explore the Marvel universe and one of the projects I found was called ‘Big Hero 6.’ I’d never heard of it, but I liked the title and its Japanese influences—it just sounded cool.”
According to Hall, he was encouraged to take the idea and run with it. “From the beginning we were told to make it our own,” he says.
Part of the process involved researching the robotics world to find Baymax. Hall spent some time with researchers at Carnegie Mellon. “We had some really great conversations about robots in pop culture,” says Hall. “And I learned that they were actually researching soft robotics, including this vinyl arm that was inflatable and non-threatening. It could do simple things like brush somebody’s teeth, but the possibilities were endless.”
Not only did Hall like the idea of a soft non-threatening robot, he liked what it could become. “A big part of this movie is that Hiro turns this compassionate nurse robot into a meched-out warrior with some dangerous consequences at stake.”
Filmmakers decided to set their action-packed story in an all-new world that embraced the Japanese influences, but provided a fresh setting unlike anything audiences had ever seen. “I thought about San Francisco,” says Hall, “which is cool, but I thought ‘What if it was San Francisco mashed up with Tokyo.’ It felt more interesting as a setting—more playful and exotic. It was something we could create. And the visual possibilities of those two cities—which are pretty different aesthetically—mashed together felt like a really cool place to set the story.”
Conli says that the film’s setting wasn’t the filmmakers’ only twist on the Marvel series. “The original source material gave us six very interesting and brilliant kids that we could explore,” he says. “And because we decided to take it into a heightened world, we were able to reinvent the characters for today’s audiences.”
From Walt Disney Animation Studios, the team behind “Frozen” and “Wreck-It Ralph,” comes “Big Hero 6,” an action-packed comedy-adventure about the special bond that develops between Baymax (voice of Scott Adsit), a plus-sized inflatable robot, and prodigy Hiro Hamada (voice of Ryan Potter). When a devastating event befalls the city of San Fransokyo and catapults Hiro into the midst of danger, he turns to Baymax and his close friends adrenaline junkie Go Go Tomago (voice of Jamie Chung), neatnik Wasabi (voice of Damon Wayans Jr.), chemistry whiz Honey Lemon (voice of Genesis Rodriguez) and fanboy Fred (voice of T.J. Miller). Determined to uncover the mystery, Hiro transforms his friends into a band of high-tech heroes called “Big Hero 6.”
Opening across the Philippines on Nov. 06, 2014, “Big Hero 6” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International through Columbia Pictures.