Did you ever notice that Disney either casts actors that have an uncanny resemblance to their characters or they tweak the characters to resemble the actors? Big Hero 6 is a great example. Meet the voice behind Tadashi…
Meet the voice behind Hiro…
Isn’t it crazy how much they look alike? This isn’t the only Disney movie like this but today we’re talking about Big Hero 6. I had an opportunity to interview Ryan Potter and Daniel Henney in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago. They were both great guys who were more than happy to answer our questions.
Here’s a portion of our interview…
Q: You’ve been in a Wolverine movie already, and now you’re in the Marvel Big Hero 6. Were you a big comic book fan as a kid?
DANIEL: Not huge, but I was definitely into them. I was into Spiderman, Incredible Hulk, stuff like that. It’s still very surreal, though. This movie was very, very special. You could feel the Marvel influence, but it was just a whole other beautiful experience. It was just bigger than anything I’d done before.
Q: Daniel, even though your character is a small part of the film, you made a huge impact. So how is Tadashi different from your character- your real personality?
DANIEL: Yeah, I dress just like Tadashi. I always have. I don’t usually wear suits, so like there’ll be days when I walk out of my house and I’ll take a look in the mirror and I look just like Tadashi. I wear a cardigan and a baseball hat. But to answer your question, he made me a better person. He really has. We are all living in this world, we get caught up in things and sometimes it’s hard to appreciate every moment like everyone preaches, you know?
And it’s hard. It was a beautiful opportunity for me to go and play this guy who is such a role model for a man should be at such a young age- so smart, beautiful, intelligent, caring, genuine, the ultimate big brother, and he’s very selfless. And so every day using your voice- lending your voice to that, I would walk out of that room feeling like I just sat through a therapy session. Like I wanted to tackle the world. I’d be at the grocery store afterwards, just smiling and
ran into people- probably creeping them out. [AUDIENCE LAUGHS]. How are you doing today? Like, I’m all right. It was great, he really helped me a lot.
Q: What challenges did you face in channeling the emotions you had to bring forward.
RYAN: I’m Hiro, so I didn’t go into that room acting at all. I went into that room simply being myself and living in those circumstances, a lot of the emotional stuff. It was just like, the creators of the film made a really comfortable environment, so I just revisited a lot of things that I felt before. And a lot like he said, it was, it was very much like therapy. I walked out of there like I was able to kinda purge a lot of things and it was just awesome. It was absolutely awesome.
Q: Scott had mentioned that most of the cast hadn’t met until the first screening. Did you the two of you meet early on in the process?
RYAN: Yeah, no. Yeah.
DANIEL: No, we met- that was the first screening day. It was weird, you know? I don’t know, I’m not lying at all when I say that I feel like a brotherly bond with this guy. We have similar experiences- similar backgrounds, and so the day of the screening, I hadn’t met any of the cast, but I was the most excited about meeting Ryan.
RYAN: You just didn’t care about the other people.
DANIEL: Yeah, I didn’t really care, and I was just looking up, and I was like- the minute he walked in the room, I had to gravitate towards him. I felt we needed to connect, and we did. It was a big hug and it just felt very organic. And, that was there. It was strange being together. Something worked.
Q: How did that impact you in your thinking about doing the film?
RYAN: First of all, it was a huge honor being able to be the first- do the multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Disney characters, ever. It was absolutely a huge honor. It’s every kid’s dream come true to be able to be a part of a film like this and, and this one is really special because of that- because of how diverse it is, and it breaks the mold. And, um, like, we keep repeating it over and over, but the diversity is what makes it stand up. I didn’t even realize that we were the first multi-ethnic Disney characters until the film had come out and somebody came up to me and said, well, how does it feel? I was like, Pocahontas- no, no, no- Mulan, no. Oh my god, we are like the- so, it’s absolutely awesome.
Q: Since you were a Marvel comic fan before the movie, how does it feel to actually be one of those characters now? Has it hit you?
RYAN: No, to be quite honest, I’m just sitting here and none of it has hit me. The only thing that’s hit me is you’re this character and you did this role, and the movie’s out. After that, none of it is, is even registering. I think in ten years, I’ll go, oh wow, that’s right, that happened. And I’m just so blown away by everything that has come from the whole kind of Disney experience, and especially with this film that, I keep saying, it’s wish fulfillment.
It really is. I grew up on anime and manga. And when I moved to the United States, I started reading Marvel and DC comics and I’ve always wanted to be a superhero. Now I- now I don’t have to, like,
put on a cape and go fight crime at night. I got to be a superhero.
Q: Does this film celebrate science and robotics?
RYAN: Yeah, I mean all the characters are all geniuses, and the film does celebrate science and robotics, and just being a smart person. But what it really celebrates is being yourself, and these kids just happen to be very smart, you know? And, it’s a perfect example of this is Fred is not as smart as some of these people, but in his own sense, he actually is. You know, he brings just as much to the table as any of these other characters do because they’re trying to be superheroes, and he knows all about the superheroes. That’s what every single one of these kids are all like. They’re brutally honest in who they are, and they’re proud of it.
So, they don’t shy away from who they are, so yes, it does celebrate robotics and science, but also it celebrates just being a nerd. It celebrates being an outstanding young man and having high morals, and being a strong independent woman. It celebrates simply being yourself. You know, the science and robotics comes along with that. But I’m, I’m just so- I’m, I’m happy that a film like this is being made, that the kids can see, you know, like whatever you’re into- whatever obsession you have, carry it out.
Do it. When I was growing up, I loved baseball and martial arts and anime and manga. Still to this day, I will binge watch anime at home, you know? I still play the video game version Yugioh, you know? Because that’s who I am, and I’m more than happy to tell people that. I feel like for the longest time, it was almost kind of- people were letting other people down simply because of their interests. And this film celebrates freely expressing your interests.
If you haven’t seen Big Hero 6, it just came out on DVD/Blu-Ray. Check it out!