Ghibli's Suzuki Reveals Circumstances Behind Laputa's Production
posted on by Eric Stimson
Toshio Suzuki, Studio Ghibli's producer, held an event in Tokyo on September 23 to celebrate the launch of The Wind Rises and the upcoming launch of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya Blu-rays and DVDs. Since Hayao Miyazaki announced his retirement after The Wind Rises, Suzuki reminisced about his career with the storied director, and ended up shedding some insight into the circumstances behind the production of Castle in the Sky.
Suzuki said that Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind came about because he wanted to make a movie of his own, so he teamed up with Miyazaki and did so. But the production left Miyazaki burnt out. "I have to tell you something as a friend," Miyazaki confided to Suzuki. "I made a movie, but I lost all kinds of friends. I don't want that kind of life. I want to go back to being an animator."
Luckily, Nausicaä was a smashing success, and Miyazaki found himself with an extra 60 million yen (about $240,000 at contemporary exchange rates). This was unexpected, so he consulted Suzuki on what to spend it on. Isao Takahata was currently working on a documentary, The Story of Yanagawa's Canals, and Suzuki thought he could use 20 or 30 million yen ($80,000-$120,000), so he told Miyazaki to lend it to Takahata.
Miyazaki's windfall swiftly turned into debt, as Takahata used all the money he was given. Miyazaki turned to Suzuki again. "What should I do? I don't want to mortgage my house." Suzuki suggested making another movie. Miyazaki agreed on the spot, and within five minutes the idea that turned into Castle in the Sky had been developed. "He told me he thought of it in elementary school," Suzuki related.
"If Takahata had made his movie on schedule, Laputa wouldn't have been born," Suzuki realized. "So get into debt, and come up with your next idea?" he was asked. "That's right," Suzuki chuckled.