Fans of quality sitcoms know what a force Damon Wayans Jr. can be. He made a splash in the pilot for the Fox series "The New Girl," but had to leave when another show he appeared on, "Happy Endings" (for ABC) got picked up as well. "Happy Endings" ran on ABC for the next few years and a small, dedicated few (myself included) applauded it for being one of the best shows on television, an utterly surreal spin on the classic "Friends" tropes (at one point a character even drunkenly points out the similarities to "Friends"). When "Happy Endings" was unceremoniously canceled, Wayans returned to "The New Girl" as the character he played in the pilot. The universe was balancing itself.

As far as his big-screen outings go, Wayans is also making inroads. This past summer he starred in the raunchy R-rated comedy "Let's Be Cops," which ended up being a surprise smash. And this weekend he takes things to the next level, as a voice performer in Disney's "Big Hero 6," a loose adaptation of an obscure Marvel comic book.

In the movie, Wayans plays Wasabi, a neat freak scientist who is turned into a laser-blade-wielding crime fighter by a young boy named Hiro (Ryan Potter) and his inflatable nurse robot Baymax (Scott Adsit). We got a chance to sit down with the actor (who, yes, is just as handsome in real life) at Disney Animation Studios, where they created "Big Hero 6." It was there that we talked about bringing Wasabi to life, his failed career as an animator, and what it was like returning to "The New Girl."

Moviefone: So when did you first get contacted about being a part of "Big Hero 6"?

Damon Wayans Jr.: I guess it was sometime last year. It was a long process. The longest process I've ever been involved with.

What did you think when they got in touch?

I was blown away. I was shooting "Let's Be Cops" and I was at dinner and I got the call and I had never done anything like this before. Not only for it to be a voiceover experience but a Disney voiceover experience? It's kind of a dream come true. Actually, not kind of, it is a dream come true. Have you seen it? It's crazy. It's so emotional.

Did you cry?

I literally had to suck it in. The people that created it, the producers of the movie, were sitting on the edge watching me watch it. And I was like, "I'm not going to cry in front of them." And they're sitting there going, "That's it -- cry, cry!" They were willing me to cry.

What are some of your favorite Disney animated movies?

"Alice in Wonderland" is my all-time favorite. I love "Peter Pan" because I love Captain Hook. I love "Fox and the Hound." I love a lot of the older ones where there's no computers involved. It's cel-drawn. Oh "Aladdin" also. But that was because of Robin Williams. That scene at the end when he's giving him a hug. They always do that.

Kids are going to be watching this forever. Do you ever think about that at all?

No, not really. It's kind of a weird feeling. But it's a good feeling.

Were you a big Marvel fan as well?

Oh, of course, I love Marvel. This movie was definitely inspired by one of the Marvel comics but it's not really that similar to the comic books. They took a lot of creative license.

Your character doesn't have a lot of back story in the movie. Did they explain things to you, did you talk about where he came from?

Honestly, I don't know. I know that he's one of the five buddies of Hiro's older brother Tadashi. They're all scientists and they all have similar interests. So when Tadashi passes away, Hiro is the new Tadashi and they embrace him. So we're going to take care of him and watch out for him, since he's just as smart if not smarter than Tadashi.

Obviously, from the year that you signed on, it's gone through a bunch of iterations. What was your favorite thing, in relation to your character, that got left behind?

They had him being a germophobe. I loved that. It was fun to do. Because I am a germophobe myself. So I brought a lot to that. I think they just couldn't find the joke. There's not as many jokes to be had in it. There might have been, but within the confines of the story, it was hard to find different examples of how he hates germs.

Did you ever get to record with any of the other actors?

No. It's just me. Which is crazy, because when you watch the movie, it feels like they're all in a room together, talking. The editors are amazing.

What would your dream "Big Hero 6" theme park attraction be?

It would be like you would be Hiro, you would be on the back of the Baymax character, locked in. Have you ever been on X at Magic Mountain? So while you're on the rollercoaster, in the seat, the seat flips around while you're going through the loops. So something like that, where Baymax is doing actual loops. I think that would be awesome.

Are you prepared for little kids to come up to you?

If they can connect it, I think that would be amazing. Well, it would be cool if I would be talking and little kids would be like [he mimics a little kid figuring something out and turning around]. I have a friend, Wilmer Valderrama, and he does the voice of Handy Manny, and I'll be walking around with him and we're talking and you'll see little kids like, "Hey -- you're Handy Manny!"

That's your dream.

Yes. I want to be Handy Manny. I want to be Wilmer Valderrama. That's my dream.

You're a superhero in a Marvel/Disney movie. What other dreams do you have?

Well, I grew up wanting to be an animator. I went to high school for art. And then I went to college for a year, for art -- for illustration and character design. Then I found out how much those guys got paid and I was like, "Whoa, wait a minute. Hey dad, what are you doing?" But I still draw all the time and right now I'm in the process of creating this graphic novel that I'm developing. So we'll see what happens. It's semi-superhero based. It's definitely not what's out there right now.

What was it like coming to this building for the first time?

It was such a dream come true because while I really didn't have anything to do with the actual character design, it was still great to see the process. They would show me storyboards and character designs and semi-finished animation. Because the first time I heard my voice come out of Wasabi, I just thought, This is amazing. It was next level. I was so impressed.

What surprised you the most about the final film?

Well, one, was how much of a melting pot the movie is. It's how America is and how San Francisco is especially. San Fransokyo. It's like San Francisco and Japan had a baby. And it wasn't like anyone was beating you over the head with it -- "Hey, there's a black guy! Look at the Asian kids!" It was just there. It was just reality. Also, this was the first movie that actually dealt with coping with the loss of a loved ones. A lot of the loved ones, like Bambi's mom dies, but it didn't really tackle what Bambi felt like being abandoned. But this movie did. And it talked about how you need people around you to console you when you're at your lowest. I love that they tackled that but didn't make you sad the whole time. It was all the feelings you go through – the anger, the regret, the happiness afterwards when you're looking at all the good things. It's amazing. And Baymax: you have to be a cold-hearted bastard not to love Baymax.

And you have an action figure! I'm assuming there weren't "Let's Be Cops" action figures.

No, they don't make action figures for low-budget R-rated comedies. But it's so great. I love toys. I have a giant collection of toys in my office. So he's definitely going in there. I keep them in the packages. I have all the "Dragon Ball Z" toys from when I was young in the boxes. I still have a couple of Ninja Turtles in the box. The original Ninja Turtles. I'll have all the Wasabi toys. I'll have the other ones but Wasabi will be out front.

Speaking of "Let's Be Cops," that was a little movie that ended up being a big hit. What was that experience like?

It ended up being a big hit. I was so surprised. Every weekend it was, "It made this much money." And I was like, "Are you serious?"

Did you believe in the movie?

Oh, I believed in the movie. I didn't believe it was going to make that much money and as many people would see it as they did. We promoted the heck out of it. We were on a little college tour the whole summer trying to get people to see it. I love Jake. He's my buddy. I'm on another show with him. I can't get enough. It was fun.

It wasn't fun to see "Happy Endings" end, but it was kind of fun to see you go back to "The New Girl." What has that been like?

It's definitely different than "Happy Endings." "Happy Endings" was its own thing. I feel like there wasn't a show like that. The way the characters bantered and how they made jokes, how hard-hitting the jokes were and how they were kind of offensive. But what "The New Girl" has that "Happy Endings" didn't have is heart. Sometimes I'll be doing a scene in the show where there's a grounded moment and we're all acting like complete idiots and then they just slow it down and they have this moment and it's like, "This is why this show is still on the air." Because it has those moments that human beings need.

Do people still come up to you and talk about "Happy Endings"?

Oh, all the time. If they brought it back, I would love to do it again.

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categories Interviews, Movies