When the city of San Fransokyo is in danger, a group of youngsters comes together to take down evil, science-style, in the Disney/Marvel animated film Big Hero 6 (in theaters Nov. 7). Directors Don Hall and Chris Williams give USA TODAY's Brian Truitt the rundown on this new superhero team.
Like the 18-year-old playing him, Hiro is a half-Japanese, half-Caucasian kid with energy to spare. Luckily for his hometown, though, Hiro is also a super-genius who turns his nurse robot, Baymax, into a formidable, action-movie presence when a threat arises. And while he doesn't have any actual superpowers per se, Hiro dons a flight suit with a red circle on the glove that magnetically connects to the back of Baymax, and they can act as a tag team in battle, Hall says. "They're symbiotic in that way."
Scott Adsit provides the voice of nursing robot Baymax, who's outfitted to be a superhero.(Photo: Disney)
Baymax (Scott Adsit)
Because the character was so special to the filmmakers, they cast a wide net to find the right performer. Adsit, a comedian and former star of 30 Rock, brings both comedy and humanity to Baymax, who evolves from a passive robot into a figure ready for a fight. Adsit has such sharp timing, Williams says, that "there are moments when there's real emotion that seems to poke through without breaking the rules of Baymax being a robot."
Fred (T.J. Miller)
Miller, a scholar of storytelling and comedy, melds humor and nerdiness for Fred, a big sci-fi and comic-book geek, Hall says. Fred's really into monster movies, and he inhabits a huge, tentacled "Fredzilla" creature suit — piloted from one of its three eyes — that's designed to be an homage to Godzilla and other Japanese kaiju movies of old. It can do some amazing things, too, Hall says. "He can jump really high, and he breathes wicked fire out of that mouth."
Go Go Tomago (Jamie Chung)
Hall wanted a woman of few words for the group, and Go Go is a laconic Clint Eastwood type and industrial-engineering student who's pretty tough from the get-go. "The rest of the team are pretty hapless initially," he says. "She's the only one who can take care of herself." She has also developed a bike with magnetic-levitation technology, which Hiro incorporates into her supersuit. "She can roll around on these mag-lev discs, and they can detach on a whim and become blades she can throw."
Honey Lemon (Genesis Rodriguez)
A chemistry student, Honey is the glue that holds the group together because of her empathetic, sweet personality and positive attitude. While that — and her girlie duds — doesn't exactly scream superhero material, she goes through one of the sharpest evolutions of the bunch, Williams says. Plus, Rodriguez herself is smart and was into science and robotics in school, Hall adds. "She brings some of that goofy, slightly geeky but joyful thing to the character."
Damon Wayans Jr. provides the voice of Wasabi, who is committed to precision and has lasers coming out of his arms.(Photo: Disney)
Wasabi (Damon Wayans Jr.)
This poor guy doesn't know what to do when first faced with battling evil, though he does have really cool plasma-induced lasers that come out of his arms. "When those things turn on, they can cut through anything," Hall says. The conservative dude is the most cautious about his do-gooder role. "He's this huge guy, but his whole thing is precision and rules, and by the end of the movie, he moves away from that and embraces the chaos of what being a superhero is all about."