Hayao Miyazaki Says He Won't See Mary & The Witch's Flower Film, But Tells Director Yonebayashi 'Good Job' (Updated)

posted on by Jennifer Sherman

Director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (pictured right) revealed at a special talk event on Thursday for Studio Ponoc and his upcoming Mary and The Witch's Flower (Mary to Majo no Hana) anime film that he talked with that Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki and producer Toshio Suzuki when he finished the film.

Yonebayashi said that he brought the film and visited Studio Ghibli after finishing it. At that time, Miyazaki told Yonebayashi, "I won't see it." However, Miyazaki also said, "good job." Yonebayashi reported that Miyazaki had worried because the completion of the film kept getting delayed and said, "Can you really do this!?" Yonebayashi said he believes that Miyazaki was happy that the film was able to be finished.

When production on the film was first green-lit, at first Miyazaki and Suzuki encouraged Yonebayashi, saying "have resolution and do it." Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata had also expressed his interest in the work.

Nishimura reported at the event that Suzuki said, "You worked hard. You were released from the spell of Studio Ghibli, and made a work like this. It's a good film made honestly and at ease." Takahata additionally told Yonebayashi, with a bit of sarcasm, "It's a film that I like. But because it's a film that I like, I wonder if the film's success could be in danger..."

Aside from Yonebayashi and Nishimura, Hana Sugisaka (voice of Mary), Ryunosuke Kamiki (Peter), Fumiyo Kohinata (Doctor Dee), Jiro Sato (Flanagan), Kenichi Endō (Zebedee), and Shinobu Ōtake (Charlotte) also attended the event.

After directing Arrietty and When Marnie Was There, Yonebayashi left Studio Ghibli and joined Studio Ponoc, which Nishimura founded in 2015. Nishimura expressed his confidence in the upcoming film at the event and said, "Director Yonebayashi declared at the start of this process, 'I'll devote all of the roughly 20 years of my Ghibli life! [to the film].' And this work is the result." Yonebayashi previously stated that he wanted his next film to be the "opposite" of When Marnie Was There. Studio Ponoc worked on the film for two and a half years.

In addition to directing, Yonebayashi penned the script for the film alongside Riko Sakaguchi, who wrote the screenplay for Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Takatsugu Muramatsu (When Marnie Was There) composed the music. The staff page on the film's website further notes that many former staff from Studio Ghibli have joined Ponoc in the film's production.

The film is based on Mary Stewart's book The Little Broomstick. Studio Ponoc scouted locations in Shropshire, U.K., the setting of the original novel. Amazon's description of the original The Little Broomstick novel describes the story:

It is Tib the black cat who leads Mary to the strange flower in the woods. When she discovers a little broomstick shortly afterwards, she is astonished to feel it jump in to action. Before she can gather her wits, it is whisking her over the treetops, above the clouds, and in to the grounds of Endor College, where: 'All Examinations Coached for by A Competent Staff of Fully-Qualified Witches.' Here she discovers evidence of a terrible experiment in transformation - deformed and mutant animals imprisoned in cages. In the moment after her broomstick takes off, she realises that Tib has been captured. Returning to the College the following day, she manages to free the animals, but not before the Head of the college, Miss Mumblechook, and her colleague, Doctor Dee, have seen her. Mary manages to flee ...but the evil pair are in hot pursuit!

The film will open in Japan on July 8. Studio Ponoc's YouTube channel is streaming an English-subtitled version of the new trailer, which previews rock band SEKAI NO OWARI's theme song "RAIN."

Update: Reworked translations of quotes from source article, changed headline to better reflect article contents. Thanks, SHD.

Source: Cinema Today

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