Chatting With Director Don Hall About Disney’s Big Hero 6!

Vanessa Diaz BH6 LLD

Hey All!

I recently had the amazing opportunity to chat with the Director of Disney’s Big Hero 6 Don Hall during a recent press day for the film at fabulous Walt Disney Studios Animation. Don Hall co-directs the film with Chris Williams in case you didn’t know. It was a fun filled day to say the least.

Big-Hero-6-Disney Animation

Besides chatting with Don, I also took an amazing tour of the facilities which is decorated in the theme of the film (which I will share with you later in a future post), saw some footage from the film, saw the short film, and met Baymax as you can see above.


While chatting with Don, We had a few things we couldn’t wait to ask him. Here is a taste of what we chatted about with Don:

Were you at all familiar with the comic before you came on board with the project?


No. I started as Winnie The Pooh, was winding down, just talking with John Lasseter about the next thing and the idea of taking something in Marvel Universe and taking it over here and kind of recreating it. So I just did a lot of research and try to find things that I thought would be, that would, that we could do something with and I came across Big Hero 6. I liked the title. It sounded cool. I was a comic book fan as a kid and still am but for some reason never heard of these guys. It’s a Japanese superhero team. Cool, bitching, you know.

I looked into it a little bit more, read the books, the comics and started to see sort of something that we could take and make our own, things that just emerged out of it. Like the tone of it had sort of a lighter tone. The characters were pretty playful and at the corner we saw that there would be a really rich, emotional relationship or at least the potential for a really rich, emotional relationship between this 14 year old super genius and his robot named Baymax who at the time was not a robot. That came out of our research.


Can you tell us a little bit about the casting process? Did you have anyone that you definitely wanted for the film?


It’s an interesting question. You know, it was more I guess iterative and sort of collaborative than that. As far as, you know, as the characters were developing through our sort of storyboard and screen process, as it started to merge, you know, our casting department started to put a list together and bring in performers that they felt would best represent these characters. And I love empowering departments to do that kind of thing, you know, to bring their own, you know, creativity to it and so they just kept bringing us these wonderful performers and the cast that we just assembled is just — they’re so good and they’re so willing to play.

Like they come in. It’s not just about a paycheck. It’s not just about reading words on a piece of paper. They’re taking these characters on taking them to heart and, and spinning lines because they’re all really good performers. They’re really good at improv so we really encourage that. To love them, you know, take the material and then make it their own and play around with them.

Can you talk about San Fransokyo a little bit because I feel like it’s a character in iteself? it works so well and visually it was so cool.



It ended up being San Francisco. You know, again with Marvel’s encouragement and blessing they said create your own spin on this thing and create your own world and that’s so important to John that we before we even really have stories we were crafting worlds. What’s the environment that the story takes place in becomes very important in that we do a lot of research. So we definitely wanted sort of the Japanese esthetic. We wanted, but, I didn’t want to set it in a real world.

You know, like it just felt more fun to create a fantasy world and this idea of mashing up things, you know, mashing up Marvel, mashing up Disney together started to permeate the process and this idea of mashing up two cities became very intriguing and obviously Tokyo was the obvious one. But San Francisco just seemed cool because it’s got a lot of landmarks that you can put a Japanese esthetic over it and change it and make it something really cool. And it just seemed like a fun.

Learning about the film from the filmmakers and animators made me all the more excited to see the film. Stay tuned for a great look at the Disney Big Hero Six decorated Animation Studio and our thoughts on the short Feast which will be playing before Big Hero 6.

For more info on Big Hero 6:

Like BIG HERO 6 on Facebook:

Follow Walt Disney Animation Studios on Twitter:

Follow Walt Disney Animation Studios on Tumblr:

Visit the Website:


BIG HERO 6 opens in theaters everywhere on November 7th!


Photos courtesy of Disney.