Scott Adsit cares. More specifically, he cares if you’re satisfied with your care.
Y’see, Adsit is the voice behind Disney’s lovable personal healthcare assistant Baymax from the Oscar-Award winning animated film Big Hero 6. He may play a gentle robot on the screen, but thanks to Adsit, Baymax is way more human than you’d think.
Wearing a purple button-down shirt and gray sports jacket, Adsit sat down for an interview session with myself and 24 other bloggers. It’s all part of a whirlwind Disney LA Blogging trip called #McFarlandUSAEvent. Quite different from the stressed-out, neurotic sitcom writer he played on TV’s 30 Rock, Adsit was all smooth and steady as he answered questions about his role in Big Hero 6.
He clearly loved bringing the big guy to life and is reveling in spreading Baymax’s good cheer. Friendly and completely accommodating, Adsit answered all of our questions and even took time to pose for a few group photos. By the end, you could say our blogging group was most definitely satisfied with our care.
Was it a challenge for you to bring the character Baymax to life?
SCOTT: 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.
How did you find Baymax’s voice?
SCOTT: 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. And 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.
Going into that process, did you look at any past cinematic robots for inspiration for what not to do?
SCOTT: 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.
How did your character evolve throughout the film?
SCOTT: 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. [LAUGHS] And 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.
And, I said so do you want it to sound like, like a robot who’s drunk? And 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 and then I guess your mind processes, oh, that’s how a robot gets drunk.
Do you ever do the voice for fans?
SCOTT: 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 dangly, 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.
What was it like working with Ryan Potter (Hiro)?
SCOTT: 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. [LAUGHS] Yeah, so we’re a family before we even met.
Big Hero 6
On Blu-ray and Disney HD TODAY!