In an interview with CraveOnline, Big Hero 6 directors, Don Hall and Chris Williams discuss the characters and making the animated movie.
CraveOnline: Do these characters come from the Big Hero 6 comic books?
Don Hall: Yes, all of them. There’s a character named Baymax and a character named Hiro and Fred and Honey and Go Go. Their names are taken from the original comic.
So is it in name only, or do they have the same powers and personalities too?
Chris Williams: They would resemble the original characters and their powers.
Don Hall: Yeah, so in the original comic, Wasabi was a sushi chef who I think he could throw plasma blades out of his body or something like that. We just wanted to make it grounded in reality, so he has mechanical blades that emit plasma beams so it’s not magic. Same thing with Fred, in the comics he can turn into a ghost of a giant monster. Again, we had to ground it in reality, so in our version, he’s wearing sort of a mechanized kaiju suit. So I just tried to take what was present in the original comics and just ground it in a little bit more of a scientific reality.
Chris Williams: Yeah, they’re all born out of the original comic and inspired by the original comic, but then as we put together our story and the relationships and characters evolve, they’ve evolved quite a bit from where they started.
Was there a specific format to adapting Asian architecture to landmarks like The Golden Gate Bridge for San Fransokyo?
Don Hall: A lot of came from our art director and production designer. Our environments art director, Scott Watanabe, he was in visual development and early on I saw he had such a great eye for how to combine these things. He really took on the challenge of taking the city, how and where to put the influences and to be very specific so that it was Japanese and not other Asian cultures. He really was instrumental in defining that look.
Chris Williams: The idea is that a lot of the city’s bones are San Francisco, the layout is essentially San Francisco.
Don Hall: Geographically.
Chris Williams: Geographically, but then a lot of the aesthetic is Japanese.
Is Baymax deceptively simple?
Chris Williams: Haha. Yes.
Don Hall: Capital Y, capital E, capital S.
Chris Williams: On some level, he’s a robot who’s subject to his programming and he’s a nurse robot. He’s programmed to do all these different medical procedures, but I think along the way, we’re really inviting the audience to infer and project a lot of things onto Baymax and sense that there’s something more. He’s smarter than he’s letting on or he knows more than he’s letting on and he’s actually learning as he goes. That’s something we did want.
We wanted to be, on one hand, restrictive with this guy and make sure he was a robot, not just a guy in a robot costume. But we also wanted to give ourselves a little bit of leeway to have the character evolve. The fact that he’s just two eyes, no mouth and all he can do is blink, that’s classic animation because it’s really paring things down to their essence and allowing people to infer so much into the tiniest little thing.
When Baymax does a certain blink or a certain head tilt, people can infer lots of things. They can get inside Baymax’s head and they understand he’s thinking right now. he’s trying to figure out how to solve this problem. He’s trying to figure out how to understand this kid. He’s trying to figure out how to get past the bed. That, to me, is when animation is at its best, when people are invited to impose things onto the characters.
For the full interview click HERE
Big Hero 6 hits theaters November 07, 2014.