Daniel Henney Talks about Dubbing for Movie “Big Hero 6” and Navigating Hollywood as a Korean-American Actor

Daniel Henney

In an interview on January 14, actor Daniel Henney shared about his experience dubbing for the movie “Big Hero 6” as well as how he navigates Hollywood as a Korean-American actor.

In “Big Hero 6,” Daniel Henney lent his voice to the character Tadashi Hamada, the main character Hiro Hamada’s older brother and inventor of healthcare robot Baymax.

Daniel Henney did not hide his affection for the project, “Ever since I was little I was a fan of Disney animations.”

He shared about being disappointed because he didn’t hear back from his audition for a long time as well as the struggles he had once he got the part, “I struggled with the voice acting. My character has a younger brother, and maybe it was because I grew up [as an only child], but I did not know how to address my brother and in what tone. It was [harder] because I really wanted to do well given the fact that it’s a Disney production. I think it got better after I resolved to act naturally like a child.”

The actor also expressed his desire to participate in a non-animated Disney movie in the future, “The Disney studio is itself a happy place. Even the person managing the parking lot seems like he jumped out of an animation because he’s so happy. I felt like I was charged with positive energy while working on ‘Big Hero 6.’”

The interview was conducted in roughly half Korean, half English. Daniel Henney remarked, “Since I go back and forth between Korea and America for my activities, my Korean doesn’t really improve. Acting in English is more comfortable for me right now.” But he mentioned that he tries to use Korean whenever he can. Apparently his dogs only understand Korean.

“There are times when I get confused as to whether I’m a Hollywood actor or a Korean actor. (Laughs) But I think of myself as a Korean actor. It was in Korea that I was able to gain acting experience and get to where I am today[…] I take a lot of pride in being a Korean actor,” Daniel Henney expressed.

He continued, “Hollywood still has the same prejudices about Asian actors that it had ten years ago. So whenever I get a casting offer, I think about it seriously. Although I haven’t fully established myself yet in Hollywood, I don’t take projects that disparage Koreans or Asians, so there are projects I have turned down. My goal is to [set a good example] as a Korean actor working in Hollywood.”

“Big Hero 6,” which was released in North America in November of last year, was a box office hit. The film surpassed “Interstellar” in sales and snagged first place at the box office, carrying on the legacy of hit Disney animation “Frozen.” “Big Hero 6” will premiere in Korea on January 21.

Daniel Henney