Hayao Miyazaki on the Future of Studio Ghibli and Possible PORCO ROSSO Sequel

     August 24, 2010


Master animator Hayao Miyazaki gave an interview to the Japanese magazine Cut recently in which he discussed Studio Ghibli’s possible future.  He talked about his own involvement in Ghibli’s upcoming films – which he hopes will include a sequel to his 1992 feature Porco Rosso – and the possible dissolution of the Oscar winning studio.

The proposed sequel, entitled Porco Rosso: The Last Sortie would put the pig-faced fighter pilot in the middle of the Spanish Civil War.  The chance that this will end up being Miyazaki’s next film are probably pretty slim, though, since the director is notorious for getting excited about projects and then moving onto something else before they come to fruition.  He personally courted Ursula K. LeGuin for years for the rights to make an Earthsea film, but when she finally signed them over to him, he passed the job on to son Goro (with less than spectacular results).  Even Miyazaki himself admitted in the Cut interview that a Porco sequel might not be worth seriously considering, dismissing it as “an old man’s hobby.” Hit the jump to read the full scoop on what’s coming up at Studio Ghibli and my own thoughts on the chances of us every seeing Porco fly again.

porco_rosso_movie_image_01Miyazaki, whose last film was the delightful Ponyo, plans on having Ghibli release two new films in the next three years, both of which are to be written, but not directed, by him.  The first of these film, directed by Hiromasa Yonebay, is The Borrower Arrietty, which opened last month in Japan.  The second is slated to be The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, which will be directed by veteran Ghibli director Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies).

It sounds like what Miyazaki really wants to create is a tragic boy’s tale, in the vein of James Joyce’s Dubliners. At one point in the interview he stated that “I believe that I should be thinking only about a movie about a boy.”  A project like that would be quite a departure for Miyazaki, whose films almost exclusively center around a strong female character.  As he admitted freely that such a story would be very challenging for him, his current attraction to Porco Rosso is probably just as an easy alternative which he could easily let go of if he ever gets his dream project off the ground.

As for the future of Ghibli itself, Miyazaki revealed that there had been discussions about dissolving the Studio completely, leaving only “five staff members as a copyright management company”.  Thankfully, it seems that this is being considered only as a fail-safe measure in case Ghibli is unable to bring up new directors who can continue making films which meet the high expectations which Miyazaki’s films have created for the Studio.  That is one of the reasons why Takahata and Yonebayashi are taking turns in the director’s chair working with scripts created by – and under the supervision of – Miyazaki.

I sincerely hope that Ghibli continues to make films far into the future, but I think Miyazaki is right: if they find themselves unable to continue making great films it is better to close shop with dignity instead of churning out mediocre fare which sullies the stellar reputation which they have created so far.

Much thanks to Nausicaa Net for translating parts of the Cut article.

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