The surprise of Scott Adsit being the voice of the Most Huggable Character of 2015, and all those fist bumps. Surely, he is asked often, by fans, to fist bump them; right?
“Ha! Well, I’ve done it a few times a week. But not that many people know I’m the voice of Baymax. Most people recognize my face from 30 Rock.“
Okay, so we’re not alone in having this trivia creep up on us. We really are not alone, even children, who never watched 30 Rock, Adsit feels might be surprised.
It’s funny because I meet kids who are fascinated by the character, and I’m always afraid that they will be disappointed that Baymax is just this kind of gangly, bald, bearded adult. But they understand the concept, and I start talking to them and their eyes go wide and they get real excited and they totally accept it. So it’s the best job in the world.
Just how did Scott Adsit come to find Baymax’s voice?
I didn’t know if it would be like a robotic voice. They brought me in for the audition and the script was the first indication that it wouldn’t be a typical robotic voice. Then, when I saw the picture, because they already had the character design, I just saw soft, and huggable. So I found a very benign bedside manner voice. I mixed that with kind of a state of the art of robotic interaction vocally, which is pretty much an automated phone system. So he will talk with the flow, but then there are elements within a sentence that are variables. So they’ll sound a little separate from the rest of it.
With the voice found, there was the challenge of bringing Baymax to life.
I think the audience does a lot of the work for Baymax, because he does skirt along in a kind of an impartiality emotionally, but I get to lean on either side of him just a little bit, to invite the emotions to flood in from the audience. So it’s a lot of inferral on the audience’s part. It was a bit of a challenge not to go too far off that line, but still communicate something emotionally. We decided pretty early on that he does not have that kind of emotional life. It is all programming, but then, in spite of that decision on our part, emotional life does kind of creep in here and there.
Just how many past cinematic robots did Adsit use for inspiration and learning the ins-and-outs of what not to do?
I more looked at family members who are very soft and huggable and benign. , No, I didn’t research other robots. FIrst of all, I know all the other robots, and if I was going to research it, it would be to stay away from 3PO or from K-9 or whoever.
With the voice found, and the character evolving, getting out of character, was a bit of a challenge for Adsit.
Daniel Henney and I were just talking about his character in Tadashi and how great it would be if we could stay in character and be this altruistic, selfless person all the time. It’s not sustainable. I did find myself staying in character and having to tell myself to not do that. Casting directors might think it’s annoying.
I did find myself making phone calls to friends and their children. So I would leave these messages for them like, “Hello, this is Baymax your personal care companion. Thank you for visiting Hiro and me in San Fransokyo. Currently, I’m saving Fred from peanut butter jalepeno pizza.”
Brought to life.
Up next was the evolution of the Baymax character throughout the film.
We found the voice pretty early on in the audition. The big change was somewhere in the middle of the process. They decided to give him another facet, which is when he loses power and becomes, for lack of a better word, drunk. So I came in and they introduced this concept to me, and they’d scripted a bit of it. My first question was, ‘Okay, so how do I take that voice and make it drunk, because it is such a straight line, the voice?’
I said, “So do you want it to sound like a robot who’s drunk? They said “No. Just be drunk.” So, they put a process, a little filter on that, which Baymax has and that was it. I just played over-the-top drunk and, when you’re looking at the character, and when they got the filter, then I guess your mind processes, “oh, that’s how a robot gets drunk”.
He has worked with some great A-Listers, so how did Adsit feel about working with Ryan Potter (voice of Hiro)?
We met at the first screening. About two hours after they completed the final thing for the film, we had a party at Disney. There were about 30 of us watching the whole film for the first time anywhere. It was like a reunion of people who had never met. It was great. Yeah, so we’re a family before we even met.
It’s a very collaborative process which I appreciate because I have an improv background. Most of the time it was very scripted and that was good. A lot of the low battery scenes were more improv; they just let me play around with it and say whatever I said. So the fist bump is mine…balalala. To think that this huge company actually listened to what I had to say and then incorporated it was amazing. Best job in the world.
With Big Hero 6 being such a fun movie, has the role of a silent hero changed Adsit any?
I see the value of being and receiving immediate responses from an audience, but I see the value of entertaining without the need to feed my own ego.
And, maybe that’s true of all our best friends.
With Big Hero 6 available everywhere on Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD, all the heart and humor of Scott Adsit, as Baymax, the lovable, personal companion robot, who forms a special bond with robotics prodigy, Hero Hamada, can be brought home today– it’s fun for the whole family!
On Blu-ray and Disney HD TODAY!