In a recent interview with IndieWire, Michael Sinterniklaas, the voice director of Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy And The Heron English dub revealed that he was initially skeptical about casting Robert Pattinson as Heron, as it was a role that was complicated and nuanced.
Despite recognizing Pattinson as a fine actor, Sinterniklaas felt that there was nothing in his body of work to suggest he could tackle such a challenging role.
However, Pattinson quickly dispelled any doubts during a visit to the studio in Los Angeles. Sinterniklaas recounted the moment when Pattinson confidently approached him, saying, “OK, I’ve been thinking about this role and I recorded some stuff. Do you want to hear it?” Pattinson then played recordings from the Memos app on his iPhone, revealing a voice that perfectly captured the essence of the character.
This greatly impressed Sinterniklaas.
“Oh, bingo, you’ve already got the character,” the director exclaimed.
According to the director, what Pattinson created was a unique voice- “nasal growl that sounds like a menacing cross between Gollum and the Cryptkeeper, but laced with pockets of softness“.
The performance was so convincing that even knowing Pattinson’s identity audiences may struggle to connect the voice to the actor.
The Boy And The Heron is set to grace the North American theatres on Dec 8, 2023. The film is also getting an IMAX release at the same time.
The Boy And The Heron (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.
It was also the first-ever animated film as well as Japanese film to open the 48th Toronto International Film Festival.
The plot of the film is described as:
The plot of the film is set during World War II. Mahito Maki, the protagonist, is a young boy who tragically lost his mother in a hospital fire. When his father remarries, they move from Tokyo to a countryside mansion. This mansion happens to be his mother’s ancestral home, and his father’s new wife is his mother’s sister. With complex emotions, Masato is guided by a mysterious gray heron and finds himself stepping into a different world.
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.
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.