Disney’s ‘Big Hero 6′ ready for Oscars, DVD release

February 20, 2015
"Big Hero 6" voice actors Daniel Henney, Ryan Potter (Disney/Photo Kayvon Esmaili)

“Big Hero 6″ voice actors Daniel Henney, Ryan Potter (Disney/Photo Kayvon Esmaili)

By Tae Hong

Disney’s “Big Hero 6,” which is up for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards Sunday, is ready to hit shelves for its home entertainment release come Feb. 24.

Inspired by a Marvel comic, the film is the story of Hiro Tamada, a smart, spunky kid with a knack for robotics. After a personal tragedy, he teams up with a group of nerds and squishy, huggable health care robot Baymax to fight the evil that has befallen the fictional city of San Fransokyo.

Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams, who recently traveled to South Korea to promote the film, talked about the benefits of making the rounds with Daniel Henney (Tadashi), a superstar actor with numerous TV dramas and films under his belt in the country.

“If you’re gonna travel to Korea, you should roll with Daniel Henney,” Williams laughed. “Although, it was kind of sad. You’d see all these girls who would see Daniel coming. And they would be like, [gasp]. Then we could walk by and they would just go, ‘Oh.’”

Henney said he was stunned by the warm response from Korean fans, especially at a large five-story mall where he found himself in a packed house full of fans on premiere night.

“I was really surprised how big [Korea] did it,” he said. “I’m very proud Korean fans have embraced the movie so much.”

The feature topped the box office there and attracted more than 2.3 million moviegoers to theaters as of Feb. 13, according to local media.

Ryan Potter, voice of Hiro, said the gig was a dream come true for him.

Big Hero 6 (Disney)

Big Hero 6 (Disney)

“I grew up with Disney. It’s wish fulfillment. We get to voice the first multicultural Disney characters ever,” Potter said. “It’s unreal. “

Henney agreed.

“I’m sure all of us grew up with some sort of Disney memory in our brains. For me, I’m from a very small farm town in Michigan with like 1,000 people. Even California was like Mars,” he laughed. “The fact that I live here and am able to stumble, sometimes not elegantly, into these jobs — it’s pretty amazing. The first day that we saw the film, [Executive Producer] John Lasseter gave a speech, which was very welcoming. He said, ‘Welcome to the Disney family. These characters are yours for the remainder of your lives.’ That was very emotional for me.”

Scott Adsit, who voices the beloved-by-all Baymax, called being a part of the experience “surreal.”

“[Baymax] is without ego, and he’s there to essentially love you without expecting anything for himself. And don’t we all want that?” he said.

Bonus features, including “FEAST,” a short by Patrick Osborne, a selection of deleted scenes, easter eggs (watch out for a statue of “Frozen” villain Hans being blown up in Fred’s backyard, the directors’ pick for favorite hidden surprise) and behind-the-scenes looks at the making of the movie, are available in the upcoming Blu-ray/DVD release.

There are hopes, too, for a sequel, which sparked the curiosity of fans even before the film hit screens worldwide.

Hall and Williams finally opened up about their thoughts on continuing the story.

“This was a really challenging movie and a challenging story to craft. You really pour everything you have into this thing. There’s never time where you think, ‘Oh, the next one, we could do this.’ We went from that right into flying around the world promoting the movie. We’re in a place now where we’re ready for a vacation, a little down time. It’s important, I think, to not race into the next thing. Really slow down, figure out what you’re interested in, travel a bit, read a bit, really just rediscover what you’re excited about. … And this is a thing John Lasseter says, it’s an edict: We’re never going to make a sequel to anything unless the directors want to and unless they have a story to tell. No one is going to force a sequel down our throats, and we would only do it if we thought there was something really amazing that we had to do with those characters. The last thing you want to do is tarnish the original by making a sub-par sequel,” Williams said.

The cast and directors were positive about the chance of seeing “Big Hero 6” clinch the Oscar.

“I think globally, more people can relate to this film than any other animated film that came out this year,” Potter said. “You see how diverse the cast is, and the other films are great. They’re phenomenal. But they’re films we’ve seen before. … I’m not trying to sound over-confident, but “Big Hero 6” is different in that the diversity plays such a huge role, and you can relate to a film, it’s just that much more personal.”