‘Big Hero 6′ Interview: T.J. Miller & Damon Wayans Jr. Talk Animated Improv

Without a doubt, superheroes have become one of Hollywood’s hottest cash cows. With Marvel Studios raking in billions with their shared movie universe (featuring The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, and more on the way) and Warner Bros planning adaptations of DC comic books through 2020 (including Batman V Superman, Justice League, Suicide Squad, among others), it’s a great time to be superhero fan – and that’s without even mentioning films that 20th Century Fox and Sony have in the works. The potential for large box office returns from masked heroes is so big that Disney has triple-dipped this year: starting with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, then Guardians of the Galaxy, and now, animated Marvel comic adaptation Big Hero 6.

Set in the future city of San Fransokyo, Big Hero 6 follows the story of Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter), a genius teenager trying to find his place in a futuristic work. However, along the way, Hiro gets mixed up with a four brainy college students: Honey Lemon (Génesis Rodríguez), GoGo Tomago (Jamie Chung), Wasabi (Damon Wayans, Jr), and Fred (T. J. Miller) – as well as lovable medical droid Baymax. Together the young geniuses take on a Kabuki-mask wearing super villain that is using stolen technology to terrorize the city streets.

In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Miller and Wayans discussed what it was like working on Big Hero 6, why their characters are unlikely superheroes, and whether or not we’ll see a sequel to Wayans’ Let’s Be Cops!

Watch our video interview with Miller and Wayans at the top of the page or read the full transcript below (right after re-watching the awesome trailer for Big Hero 6):

Screen Rant: Would you guys say that Wasabi and Fred are maybe the least equipped to be heroes out of the Big Hero 6?

TM: That’s kind of right on…

Damon Wayans Jr.: Maybe. I don’t know, I feel like Hiro is.

TM: Yeah, you think Hiro is?

DW: Yeah, ‘cause he knows how to build all the stuff but, I mean, he doesn’t really have a superpower. He was just like, “I’m gonna be on your back!”

TM: (laughs) I mean, I think Fred sort of, he wants to be a superhero so much that he wills himself to be able to be, but yeah, in the fight scenes you can see he’s not — until he starts spinning those signs, he’s having a little bit of trouble. But yeah, Honey Lemon though…she’s an unlikely superhero. I mean, her superweapon is a purse. A cool purse for sure, but it’s a handbag.

DW: With balls in it.

TM: Exactly.

‘Big Hero 6′ Interview: T.J. Miller & Damon Wayans Jr. Talk Animated Improv

SR: It’s a purse we could all feel comfortable carrying around.

TM: That’s right, yeah, ‘cause you can throw the —

DW: Absolutely. It’s a beautiful purse.

TM: — the plasma balls.

SR: Did you guys get to work together at all in the booth or were you alone the whole time?

DW: He was actually on my shoulders the whole time.

TM: Yeah, I did — they had to extend the ceiling so that I could, and then we would switch and I would do my stuff. It helped with the superjump because every time I had to do that I got on his shoulders and jumped right off. No, yeah, you’re in the booth alone, and I think sometimes that’s weird because both of us are comedians and work with other people and then you have somebody to play off of. But it’s strange how you can work with the director and do it on your own and then, you know, Fred and Wasabi play off of each other and Baymax plays off all of us and Go Go’s kind of playing off people, so it doesn’t seem like you’re in there alone. ‘Cause we get that question and that’s the way it goes.

DW: It’s really cool how, and also it’s a testament to the directors and producers of the movie that know how to bring out whatever is necessary to fit our — my dialogue with his dialogue or vice versa.

‘Big Hero 6′ Interview: T.J. Miller & Damon Wayans Jr. Talk Animated Improv

SR: Did they encourage you to improv?

TM: Yeah, that’s one of the best things about Disney because, you know, both of us are again comedians and through that, improvisers, and so, you know, they said to us, “You know, just do your thing.” We need first the lines that are written, ‘cause that’s the foundation of the script, but the way that you make these characters your own is by, you know, getting serious about improvising as many possible lines as you can. And it’s digital, so you’re not going to run out of tape. So, you know, I would do 70, 80 sort of alt lines, 150 — I did 150 versions of the sandwich joke. I don’t know if you saw that —

DW: Are you serious?

TM: Yeah, yeah. 150.

DW: God!

‘Big Hero 6′ Interview: T.J. Miller & Damon Wayans Jr. Talk Animated Improv

SR: Damon, real quick, what are you hearing about a Let’s Be Cops sequel?

DW: It’s promising. It made a lot of money, so we’ll see.

SR: It was kind of a stealth hit for you.

DW: Yeah, it was. I was surprised. Every time it made like more money the next weekend, I was like, “Oh, all right, I’ll take it.” I mean, I technically didn’t take it, Fox did, but…

TM: But you were like, “Keep coming back.”

DW: They gave me a little bit. A little, little… (laughs)

TM: We get the minimum that the Screen Actors Guild will allow people to pay us. That’s true.

DW: Yeah. That’s why we make the medium bucks.

SR: 125 bucks a day.

TM: Yeah, that’s right!

 Big Hero 6 opens is now playing in theaters!

 

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