Disclosure- I have been provided an all expense paid trip to Los Angeles for the Big Hero 6 movie premiere and ABC TV Event in exchange for coverage of these events. All opinions are 100% my own. Thank you so much Disney and ABC TV!
Yeah, that’s me hanging out with Big Hero 6’s Jamie Chung (Go Go) & Genesis Rodriguez (Honey Lemon). During our press trip to Los Angeles last week we had the opportunity to chat with 2 of the actors from Big Hero 6. They were both so sweet and beautiful.
Here’s what we learned:
Q : What was your favorite part about playing the Character that you played?
JC : I think the favorite, in particular with this character, Go Go doesn’t say a lot at the beginning of the film. But when she does say something, it’s very on point and it’s quite sassy. She was described to me as the female version of Clint Eastwood of the group. And it was just fun to sass it up. If I said a line with too much of a smile, the directors Chris and Don would say, “No, No, No, No, No, a little bit meaner”.
GR: For me it was having to be so positive all the time. I really feel like I was acting a fool and I was getting paid for it. It really is just the biggest blessing to have this cast, warm and loving characters because you’ll never get to play that kind of part in a live action thing. I can speak for the both of us, we’ve been huge Disney fans all of our lives and we’ve been princesses. I literally would comb my red hair in restaurants as Ariel. It’s like a dream come true to be able to play these strong Female Characters and give that back to future Generations.
Q : I have a question about Honey Lemon’s character because she looks Caucasian but then there were moments in the film where she had a Japanese accent to me like especially when she said Hiro. The setting was a mix of San Francisco and Japan and I was wondering if she had a Japanese background as well.
JC : So Honey Lemon is very Latina. So that’s the correct way of pronouncing it (Hiro) either way. The beautiful thing about Latinas is we come in all colors. My mom is Honey Lemon. She’s blonde, real natural blonde, lighter eyes. It’s wonderful that it’s not like a stereotype of any sorts. I feel like she pronounces it that way because it’s more endearing or it’s more like she cares about him.
Q : Had you voiced an Animated Character before?
JC : Nothing on this caliber. Once you’ve done a Disney Animation Film, it’s the top of the top, you know what I mean? You’re good! But I did do a cartoon for a different network and it was a half hour and everyone got fired, the cast, the writers, everyone. That was kind of the worst experience.
Q : Did you like having such a strong having a strong female lead in the movie?
JC : Absolutely! Talking further on stereotypes, what I love about this film is that there is no stereotype. It kind of breaks all of those boundaries in terms of being a nerd and being not cool. This is the absolute opposite of that. In terms of strong female characters, like Honey Lemon and Go Go are so different from each other and yet they both represent strength in their own way. What Disney’s great about is not a cookie cutter example of “this is a strong woman”. They both come in different shapes and sizes and different shades and what not and that’s what I love about this.
Q : A couple of my Readers have asked, when you’re in studio and you’re doing your voices are you very animated while you’re doing it, like everybody’s listening to it in their heads and jumping around or is it very calm when you’re doing it?
GR : I heard this story of a famous voice over actor and he prefers to lay down and say all of his lines. I don’t know how that’s possible because I have do the motion and I think Jamie is the same way. You have to do the motion in order to get that sound out. It’s so hard to do because you have to stay still. But it’s like “now make a noise like you’re falling 6 feet and you’re landing on the floor, like that noise, like that “UGH” when you’re falling. It’s really hard to do. You have to use your imagination but it helps you. I couldn’t not move. And energy! I can’t imagine saying my lines (without moving). So immediately when I started with the hands (in an exaggerated high voice) “Like Oh My God, Hi!” So there’s definitely lots of hand movement. Probably I was like 4 feet away from anything around me.
Q : What did you wear to get into character? I know when you talk to some actors they wear heavy shoes to get into these characters? Did you do something like that?
GR : What’s weird is that I did, the audition exactly like Honey Lemon and I hadn’t seen the character at all. I took a very bold fashion choice. I did socks in heels and I did an undershirt and then a dress over it. I don’t do that at all. I don’t know why I went like that and then I saw Honey Lemon and the way she dressed and it was freaky. I couldn’t have planned it better.
JC : It often helps.
GR : It helps yeah.
Q : How did you prepare?
GR : There’s really not much you can prepare because they improvise and you don’t have any idea what the story is about. I think we both did read.
JC : I did, I auditioned, yes. But it was a constant progression and change and so every day, it’s like the new version and you go through all your lines of a new version.
GR : I think the most important thing is to be unique because once you’re in the room, you can really go and figure out where it’s supposed to be and they say, “OK, you’re onto something” and then you kind of go with that mojo. So that’s the only thing that you can do you have to be able to play. You really have to just tap into your inner kid and make that voice.
JC : It may sound pretty strange (because) it’s just your voice but it’s so much more than that. I would stretch. I would physically warm up, warm up my voice. I would stretch like we’re going in like run a marathon. [LAUGHTER]
Q : Did you add your own personality to the characters?
JC : I think the interesting thing when you add a voice to it, personality to it because it really does come alive. And if you look at each character and compare them to the person that’s playing them, they embody that character. Genesis to me is Honey Lemon. Her own personal attributes are what kind of gives this character life and I think that’s what they did with casting. They wanted the characters to kind of represent the actors that are playing them.
Q : Did you see each other a lot?
GR : We met a month ago.
JC : At the first cast dinner when the film was done.
GR : Yeah, when it was finally done but I think Disney does such a good job at hiring, honest honorable people that have to portray these characters that they’re perfect at what they do, and they hire really special people. Everyone that was cast was just adorable and so much fun and we immediately clicked.
Q : Were there any particular scenes that were done together or were they all voiced separately?
GR : I think Ryan Potter who plays Hiro, I think he had some scenes with Maya Rudolph together. They were able to do like openings together but Maya was on very strict time restraints. But I think they got 20 minutes together, more than any of us.
Q : What’s your favorite scene in the movie with your character?
GR: She has the best line in the movie, I think which is “Woman Up.”
JG: I think the most interesting would be when they all have their new gear and they’re testing it out and kind of feeling it out and all trying to take them out.
GR: My favorite too is when we get in the car chase.
Q : Other than your Characters, who’s your favorite character and not Baymax?
GR : Fred is hysterical. What’s funny is that T.J. is such a great comedian. He’s like totally Fred, too.
JC : I liked Wasabi. I feel a lot of resemblance with (him). He was a worry wart and he cares about safety and the safety of everyone.
GR : And his scream!
Q : There are so many emotional pulls in the movie. Was there anything in particular that really triggered you?
JC : The first time I didn’t cry cause I was absorbing everything and very aware. Last night when I watched it with my nephew and my family and everyone, I let myself go and the moment where he goes, “You can’t leave me Baymax” I’m like [CRIES]. I’m just about to cry right now, it was so good.
GR : I cried 3 times and I’m not gonna say the last two because I don’t want to spoil it to the readers but the first time I cried, apart from when I saw the Disney logo because that’s so surreal for me, so I cried when the movie started. It’s the flight scenes when he sees his. Oh that kills me. And when Baymax sees that he’s making him happier and he takes off again.
JC : What I love about them is they’re not afraid of untold story that’s like tragedy. It’s like real life issues. Disney is not afraid to address to the younger generation. I think it’s what they do because in the end, everything is gonna be OK. It’s OK to be sad. And it’s OK to be happy. And then it’s the process of overcoming grief. It’s really important. And it’s always kind of a diffused message and it’s always there but kids get it.
GR : It’s a lesson about doing the right thing.
Q : Do you think that doing the movie anyway changed your perspective on certain things? Going forward, does it want you to be better?
GR : Oh yeah.
JC : In terms of like sending the right message, it is a superhero movie but it stresses the importance of education and science. I love that the message that it sends is that intelligence and smarts is not sex biased, no more is it race biased. Everyone’s equal and everyone has that same opportunity to reach that milestone in terms of education. So I think it’s cool to part of that and also in terms of 10, 20, 30 years from now, this movie still will be relevant.
GR : I was so excited for a movie to talk about robotics and technology. I was into robotics and I’m an official nerd. To even have a movie that’s making girls want to be in technology and be smart. I hope girls especially after this movie will be the first ones to raise their hands in class and realize that being smart is empowering. Robotics is cool. Science is cool.