“The interesting thing about animated films is they take ages,” says composer Henry Jackman about his work on “Big Hero 6,” which combines superhero elements with the kind of strong emotional storytelling that audiences have come to expect from Disney animated movies. “Because it’s such a long process, you actually get to see some version of the film.
“It’ll have storyboards in it,” he adds in our webcam chat. Watch below. “Not all of the animation is finished, but that doesn’t really matter. The first time you see it, you’re trying to break the film down to understand: what’s the tone? What are the story arcs? What are the character arcs? You’re really just trying to write the initial themes for the characters. It’s vital that you just get a handle on the story early on, because you’re then just sort of generally processing.”
Jackman is a diverse musical talent whose credits include “Kick-Ass” (2010), “Man on Ledge” (2012), “Captain Phillips” (2013), and “Captain America: The Winter Solider” (2014). This is his third score for Disney, after “Winnie the Pooh” (2011) and “Wreck-It Ralph” (2012).
“You’re definitely aware of the privilege,” says Jackman about his work on the three films. “‘Big Hero 6’ was interesting because whilst it is a Disney animated film, it’s got the Marvel element. In a funny way, it was a slight departure. There wasn’t such a lineage within famous Disney films.”
Jackman has won two Annies, three ASCAP Awards and he was nominated for a BAFTA, but he’s not yet landed an Oscar bid. That could change soon considering how well animated features do in the musical-score race. Recent nominees include “How to Train Your Dragon,” “WALL-E,” “Ratatouille” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox.” Winners include “Poahontas” and “The Lion King.”
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Jackman delved further into his creation of that melody, including a musical demonstration, while speaking to Gold Derby from his studio.