The visionary creator behind animated classics like Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke, Studio Ghibli founder Hayao Miyazakii is coming out of retirement for one last film.
Opening up about his decision to return to filmmaking after he announced his retirement in 2013 following the release of his last feature length movie, The Wind Rises, Hayao explained in a rare interview with the New York Times, that it was simply, "because I wanted to."
Producer and Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki did admit at first that he tried to dissuade the 80 year-old animator from attempting to make another movie by trying to convince him that his best work was already behind him, but as anyone that knows Hayao can attest, there is no changing the stubborn man's mind once his sights have been set. Even Suzuki had to eventually concede that "the whole purpose of Studio Ghibli is to make Miyazaki films."
The filmmaker''s son, Goro Miyazaki, who released the studio's first full CGI animated film, Earwig and the Witch, earlier this year to a markedly less than enthusiastic reception, explained that his father had grown restless in his retirement and had come to find it "so aimless," ultimately realizing that he "needed to create something in order to live." Goro suggests that Hayao's desire to work on another full-length project stemmed from his brief return in 2018 where he made the short film, Boro the Caterpillar, for the Ghibli museum.
Not many details are known about the new project apart from the title, How Do You Live, and that it's based on a 1937 novel by Genzaburo Yoshino. One of Hayao's favorite childhood books, the tale follows the journey of a 15 year-old boy in Tokyo who recently lost his father. According to Suzuki, the film in true Hayao fashion is "fantasy on a grand scale."
When asked about possible parallels between the movie's title and whether working on the project turned up any answers about how to live his life Hayao explained, "I am making this movie, because I do not have the answer."
Photo via Getty