It appears that The Boy And The Heron will not, afterall, be the legendary Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki’s final contribution to the world of anime films, as it turns out the director is already hard at work in the Ghibli office with a new project.
The revelation that the film will not be his swan song was first revealed by Studio Ghibli’s Vice President, Junichi Nishioka, during TIFF, in which “The Boy And The Heron” was the opening film.
During a recent press conference related to the release of the film, producer Toshio Suzuki shed a little more light on the statement, saying that Miyazaki is indeed consumed by his new project, and that he has given up on trying to stop the director from working.
“He thinks about this new project every day, I can no longer stop him, I have given up on that. I’m no longer trying to dissuade him, even if it might be a bad film. In life, only work enchants him.”
Suzuki then went on to declare that as long as Miyazaki is comitted to working, he also wouldn’t retire. He believes that the director’s dedication to filmmaking will continue until he reaches the age of 90. He also affirmed his commitment to accompany him throughout the journey.
“We spoke again earlier today […] he started talking about this new project, so I’m not stopping him anymore. As long as he works I will not retire. He is 82 years old, I think he will continue until he is 90 years old and I’ll be going along with him for the ride.”
How Do You Live?, released in Japan on July 14, 2023. It became the first ever Studio Ghibli film to get simultaneous IMAX release.
In its initial three days of release in Japan, the film sold about 1.003 million tickets, generating approximately US$13.2 million in revenue.
Joe Hisashi has been roped in to compose music for the anime film. The film will feature 37 soundtracks including the theme song. Kenshi Yonezu performed the film’s theme song, “Chikyuugi”.
Soma Santoki voiced the main character Mahito Maki.
Masaki Suda, Kou Shibasaki, Aimyon, Yoshino Kimura, Keiko Takeshita, Jun Fubuki, Sawako Agawa, Karen Takizawa, Shinobu Otake, Jun Kunimura, Kaoru Kobayashi, and Shohei Hino are among the talented actors lending their voices to the film’s characters.
Breaking away from traditional marketing strategies, Studio Ghibli took a bold approach with the film’s release in Japan. The studio deliberately refrained from promoting the film with any materials or descriptions
How Do You Live? is inspired by the 1937 novel of the same name by Yoshino Genzaburo. He added that this book is a story that has great meaning to the protagonist of his film.
The setting of the film is Second World War-era England. The sickness that claimed his mother affects book-loving 12-year-old David. He starts to hear book whispers and see images of an odd kingdom while being tormented by loneliness. One day he stumbles into that world, guided by the voice of his dead mother. Red Riding Hood gives birth to a werewolf after falling in love with a wolf, an ugly Snow White, and an evil guy who abducts children. Fairytale creatures and mythical monsters are moving in this lovely yet dreadful world of tales. A mystery journey and a boy’s maturity in conquering challenges in this tale of extraterrestrial adventure.
In October 2017, Studio Ghibli announced the film would be titled “How Do You Live?“. Studio executive, Toshio Suzuki said that Miyazaki is working on the film for his grandson as his way of saying, “Grandpa is moving onto the next world soon but he is leaving behind this film”.
In December 2020, Suzuki stated that the film was in work with no deadlines, similar to The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013), which took eight years to make.
He said that the animation was half-finished with production running faster, due to COVID-19 restrictions requiring them to work at home, and the film will be 125 minutes long.