My kids love Big Hero 6, so much that my 7 year old walks around asking people “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your pain?”. He does it almost every day to me, so I have to laugh (especially since I box and today I would rate my pain at a 10!). That is why it was so amazing to interview Scott Adsit who does Baymax’s voice. It was surreal to have him do Baymax’s voice in front of us. I swear I got goosebumps! We had a lot to ask him!
We first asked Scott how he found Baymax’s voice.
I didn’t know if it would be a robotic voice, and they brought me in for the audition. The script was the first indication that it wouldn’t be a typical robotic voice. When I saw the picture, I just saw soft and huggable, so I found a very benign bedside manner voice. I mixed that with a state of the art of robotic interaction vocally which is pretty much an automated phone system. 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.
When then asked if he looked at any past cinematic robots for inspiration for what not to do.
I more looked at family members who are very soft, huggable, and benign. I didn’t research other robots. First of all, I know all the other robots, and if I going to research it, it would be to stay away from C3PO.
We then asked how Baymax evolved throughout the film.
We found the voice pretty early on in the audition, I think. 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. 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, like a robot who’s drunk? And they said no, just be drunk. Then they put a process, a little filter on that, which Baymax has and that was it. I just played over the top drunk.
An interesting thing about the processing filter on Baymax. I was told this after the fact. John Lassiter, who is the man in charge of the studio, wanted there to be a processing on my voice, but he also wanted my voice to come through. They would bring him examples of a filter that they wanted to use in the sound department, and he would say no, dial it back a bit, dial it back a little bit. They kept dialing it back, dialing it back, until eventually, it was just my voice, no filter. John liked what I was doing naturally. What they ended up doing was a combination. They have all that filter on me at the beginning when you meet Baymax, and then during the course of the film, they dial it back, dial it back, dial it back, so that by the end, and I don’t know if you’ve all seen the movie, but in the, at the, in the last scene in, in the void, um, there is no filter on my voice at all. It’s just me.
He finds his humanity with a subtle kind of a subtextual thing that subliminally you may not notice. I didn’t.
We asked if he went home and stayed in character.
Yes. I was just talking to Daniel before I came in her, and he has such an altruistic character in Tadashi. We were saying wouldn’t it be great to be egoless and helpful your whole life and every day but we can’t do it. I would go home and I would catch myself talking with the voice, which is not much different from my voice, but I know when I got it on. I would have to catch myself saying don’t, don’t start talking like him all the time because then that would really annoy people, especially casting directors.
Since the movie came out, we did ask how many fist bumps he’s been forced to do.
I’m never forced to do it, and it happens a few times a week. Not everyone knows it’s me either. I’ll get more 30 Rock requests from people because they see my face.
We then asked if being the silent hero changed him.
I see the value in just entertaining without needing to feed my own ego. There’s a certain satisfaction in being a stage actor where you get an immediate response. You can walk off, and say that was great. That’s part of the reward of that. With this, it is bigger than me, and I know I’m a small part of what makes Baymax Baymax and so lovable, because Baymax is this diamond with every facet being a different person.
When we talk about Baymax, it’s not me, you know. It’s everyone who worked on it, who decided how he walks and how he blinks, all of that.
So here’s the really cool part now, I got to interview the actual Baymax. I asked on Facebook what I should ask, and he answered two of those questions!
What question would you ask Baymax? Have you seen Big Hero 6 yet? Did you learn anything about Scott Adsit that you didn’t know before?