Saturday, February 28 2015 00:32

BIG HERO 6: A Conversation with Scott Adsit - Finding the Voice of a New Icon (Baymax)

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You always hear about how "it's a small world," and when it comes to Disney, they pretty much have a lock on the theme song (and ride) for that. Right now, I'm gonna tell you just how small the world really is, and how that plugs into the strange and exciting path that my life has taken over the years. Back in 2008, I met multi-hyphenate (Actor/Writer/Director/Producer) Scott Adsit. By "met," I mean we quickly exchanged a nod and "hello" in passing while headed separate directions at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. It was like two seconds - and it feels weird to say it, but we were both "guests" of the same event - Wizard World Chicago. Adsit was there to promote and do a panel for his grownup-aimed [adult swim] series MORAL OREL, and I was there as the Creator/Writer of the grownup-aimed comic book DEATH WALKS THE STREETS, which launched with a Wizard Exclusive Variant at that same event. Fast-forward nearly seven years, and I'm sitting across from Adsit in a room at the W Hollywood in Los Angeles, with Scott throwing down some words about his time as the voice of one of Disney's latest icons - the loveable Baymax of the Academy Award-winning BIG HERO 6 (out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Disney Movies Anywhere).

From a very "mature" animated series to a family-friendly feature for Adsit... from a very "mature" comic book to a family-friendly digital magazine for me. While I've been able to take part in a group interview with the voice of Baymax, my girls - "The Rock Daughters" - ended up getting to interview Baymax, the voice of Scott Adsit. Let's check out their interview first - with the girls here at Rock Father HQ and Baymax checking-in via satellite from San Fransokyo...

Scott Adsit"They already had the character design, and so when I saw the picture, I just saw soft, huggable, so I found a very benign bedside manner voice," recalls Adsit of seeing what Baymax would look like after coming in for an audition and learning that the character would not be requiring "a typical robotic voice." "I mixed that with kind of like the 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. And so they'll sound a little separate from the rest of it."

Those little pauses - the "variables" - are much of Baymax's charm, and they add to the almost childlike cuteness of the character. I'd asked Scott if he did any research with the goal of figuring out what not to do with Baymax. "I didn't research other robots," he stated, quick to note that he's well-versed in cinematic Droids who've come before him. "First of all, I know all the other robots, and if I was going to research it, it would be to stay away from Threepio [STAR WARS] or from K-9 [DOCTOR WHO] or whoever."

Scott Adsit and the #BigHero6Bloggers
Pictured: Scott Adsit has really long arms and brings Baymax's "huggable" form to life for the #BigHero6Bloggers.  Not really.
Photo Credit: Kayvon Esmali ©Disney

Much like the situation that happened with FROZEN before it, it's almost hard to believe that BIG HERO 6 was just released theatrically less than four months ago - and that it's already taken home Oscar gold and has just had it's in-home release. With a character now completely solidified as a Disney heavy-hitter, Adsit finds himself in a situation much like Tom Hanks has often recalled about "being Woody" from the TOY STORY films. "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 dangly, bald, bearded adult," he says as the room erupts with laughter. "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."

Spinning it back to the beginning of this article... Wizard World Chicago 2008 - ya know who else was there? FALL OUT BOY drummer Andy Hurley, who was there as a comic book-loving fan. Fast-forward seven years and his band did the lead single for a Disney movie based off of an obscure title from MARVEL Comics... a song played over 19 million times on YouTube so far. See? It really is a small world after all.

Order BIG HERO 6 and other great items from Amazon:
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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