Ghibli Casts Its 1st Film With 2 Female Leads & All-English Theme Song
posted on by Egan Loo
16-year-old actress Sara Takatsuki (Black President, Otomen, GTO, Daily Lives of High School Boys, Haganai) and 21-year-old actress Kasumi Arimura (Amachan, Hagane no Onna, Clover, Judge) will star in Studio Ghibli's next film, this summer's anime adaptation of Joan G. Robinson's English children's novel classic When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie). Oricon describes the film as Ghibli's first one with dual lead heroines, and it is also the first animated title and first Ghibli title for both actresses.
American musical artist Priscilla Ahn is contributing "Fine on the Outside," a song she wrote when she was in high school, as the film's theme song. It is Ghibli's first theme song entirely in English. (Only Yesterday used a Japanese version of "The Rose," while Whisper of the Heart used both the original English version of "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and a Japanese translation.) The film is also Ghibli's first anime feature after Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki retired.
Amazon posted a publisher's description of the original novel:
Anna hasn't a friend in the world - until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn't all she seems...An atmospheric ghost story with truths to tell about friendship, families and loneliness. Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognises - and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna's first ever friend. Then one day, Marnie vanishes. A new family, the Lindsays, move into the Marsh House. Having learnt so much from Marnie about friendship, Anna makes firm friends with the Lindsays - and learns some strange truths about Marnie, who was not all she seemed...
In his second film, director Hiromasa Yonebayashi (2010's The Secret World of Arrietty) is shifting the setting from the novel's Great Britain to a Japanese village on the shores of Hokkaido. Takatsuki will play the 12-year-old Anna (written in kanji characters), while Arimura will play Marnie, the mysterious golden-haired girl who appears before Anna one summer.
About 300 candidates auditioned for the roles of the heroines at the end of last year. The film will open in Japan on July 19. Disney happened to have just released Frozen, its first animated feature with dual lead heroines (one of which was named Anna). Marnie producer Yoshiaki Nishimura said there was a time in film history where "the flawless hero saves the woman," followed by a time for films where "the woman supports the troubled hero." Now, he said, 2014 is the time when "the man doesn't have to save the woman."
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