Can I just say, “Disney has some amazing movies lately?” It’s true. I suddenly feel like a kid again. Right now, Big Hero 6 is stopping us in our tracks when a commercial comes on. No matter how many times we see it, we laugh out loud, we “awe” and coo, and the best part, it’s in theaters now!
I thought I’d take a moment to introduce you to the fantastic characters with a few fun facts.
- SLAM DUNK – Baymax is 6 feet tall and 75 pounds—until Hiro mechs him out. Baymax, in his super suit, is more than 7 feet tall and can lift 1000 pounds. “He’s all air,” says the head of the animation, Zach Parrish.
- GO AHEAD – Artists looked at actors like John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Gary Cooper, and other cowboys to study cool, emotionally reserved traits while developing GoGo Tomago’s look and personality.
- IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BLINK – Baymax sports a standard nine-frame-blink, says the head of the animation, Zach Parrish. “We play with the speed of his blink throughout the film, but it’s a standard blink for the most part. The amount of time we give the audience to think before he blinks says a lot—the longer it is, the more time he’s processing. A double blink shows confusion. We used that a few times in the film. That could be an acting choice for a human character, too.”
- NEED FOR SPEED – Artists looked at speed skaters to inform the body type and movement of GoGo Tomago, a passionate student of speed.
- DUUUUUUDE – Artists studied snowboarders, skateboarders, and surfers to develop movement and posture for Fred.
- CHILL OUT – Wasabi, at one time, was a very Zen character with very Zen dreadlocks. When filmmakers tweaked his personality, they initially decided the neatnik wouldn’t be a fan of the not-oft-shampooed-do and gave him a haircut. The look didn’t last. It turns out; everyone was just too attached to his cool locks.
- LOOSE TOOTH – To ensure Hiro’s charming gap-toothed grin stayed intact from any angle, controls were added to his teeth so animators could make adjustments as needed.
And behind these amazingly fun characters is some mighty talent!
- ROBOT LOVE – Ryan Potter, who voices Hiro in “Big Hero 6,” was obsessed with building robots as a kid. “I was 9 or 10 when I got a robotics kit,” he says. “I absolutely love science.”
- MORE ROBOT LOVE – Genesis Rodriguez, who lends her voice to Honey Lemon in “Big Hero 6,” was on her school’s robotics team. “I was a welder,” she says. “So I made sure my weldings were just perfect and very aesthetically pleasing. People didn’t expect us to be so good. That was the beauty of it. We were just this bright group of girls who had an idea, executed it, and beat the guys.” (learn more about welding through Welding Champs)
- SMART GUY — James Cromwell, who lends his voice to Professor Robert Callaghan, studied at Carnegie Mellon University (then called Carnegie Tech). “Big Hero 6” filmmakers spent time at the school, learning all about the innovative field of soft robotics, which ultimately inspired Baymax, a huggable vinyl robot that takes care of people.
- FULL CIRCLE – As a child, Damon Wayans Jr., who provides the voice of Wasabi, wanted to be an animator when he grew up. He even studied animation after graduating from high school before he decided to pursue acting.
Even more impressive are the folks behind the scenes. The filmmaking magic!
- LET IT GROW – The “Big Hero 6” animation team topped 100 members (103, to be exact). That’s about 15 more animators than 2013’s feature film “Frozen.”
- MARTIAL ARTISTS – Filmmakers selected karate to broaden Baymax’s skillset—but animators had to adjust some of the movements to work for the voluminous character’s build. A few team members visited a nearby martial arts studio to get a feel for the practice. Pros were asked to attempt some of the moves while on their knees to simulate Baymax’s signature proportions.
- I CAN FLY – Filmmakers consulted with flight specialist Jason McKinley, who worked on both “Disney’s Planes” and “Planes: Fire & Rescue,” to choreograph and execute the flight sequences with Baymax and Hiro.
- 670’S A CROWD – Walt Disney Animation Studios’ proprietary system Denizen allowed filmmakers to create bigger, more believable crowds for “Big Hero 6.” creating around 670 unique characters, compared to 270 in “Frozen,” 185 in “Wreck-It Ralph” and 80 in “Tangled.”
- Each of the 670 characters has 32 different clothing look combinations, plus 32 different hair and skin tones. That means filmmakers could invite 686,080 unique characters to the San Fransokyo party before any exact repeats.
- Denizen was made available to everyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios, and employees were encouraged to model themselves in the system to join the crowd. More than 200 characters were created, and employees will see themselves on the big screen—walking among the “Big Hero 6.”
COUNT ON IT — The “Port of San Fransokyo” scene has over 6000 people in it.
- 23 districts were built in 3D.
- 83,149 lots of the 150,000 in all of San Francisco were built.
- 8 million building parts.
- 215,000 streetlights.
- 260,000 trees.