Ghibli's CG Earwig and the Witch Acquired for U.K.

posted on by Andrew Osmond
Elysian Film Group plans U.K. cinema release in early 2021

Deadline announced that the UK distributor-producer Elysian Film Group has acquired Studio Ghibli's first CG feature Earwig and the Witch, and is planning to give it a U.K. cinema release in early 2021.

The film is Goro Miyazaki's anime adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones' novel of the same name. The novel was published in 2011, and publisher HarperCollins describes the story:

Not every orphan would love living at St. Morwald's Home for Children, but Earwig does. She gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it, and it's been that way since she was dropped on the orphanage doorstep as a baby. But all that changes the day Bella Yaga and the Mandrake come to St. Morwald's, disguised as foster parents. Earwig is whisked off to their mysterious house full of invisible rooms, potions, and spell books, with magic around every corner. Most children would run in terror from a house like that . . . but not Earwig. Using her own cleverness—with a lot of help from a talking cat—she decides to show the witch who's boss.

The anime will star:

  • Shinobu Terajima (Caterpillar, Helter Skelter, Oh Lucy!) as Bella Yaga
  • Etsushi Toyokawa (live-action 20th Century Boys, Her Granddaughter) as Mandrake
  • Gaku Hamada (Miss Hokusai, One Piece Film Gold, live-action Space Brothers) as Thomas
  • Child actress Kokoro Hirasawa (live-action BLEACH) as Earwig (Aya in the Japanese version)

Goro Miyazaki is directing the anime as the studio's first full 3D CG feature, and his father and studio co-founder Hayao Miyazaki is credited for the movie's planning and development. Studio Ghibli co-founder Toshio Suzuki is producing. French distributor Wild Bunch International is serving as the feature's international sales agent, from which Elysian acquired the rights

Keiko Niwa (Ocean Waves, Tales from Earthsea, The Secret World of Arrietty, From Up On Poppy Hill, When Marnie Was There) and Emi Gunji (From Up On Poppy Hill assistant director) are writing the screenplay. Miho Satake (Moribito - Guardian of the Spirit, Kiki's Delivery Service), the illustrator of the novel's Japanese edition, is credited with the original character and setting designs, and Katsuya Kondo (Kiki's Delivery Service, Ponyo, Ronja the Robber's Daughter, From Up On Poppy Hill) is designing the characters for animation.

Yukinori Nakamura (Ghibli Museum's "Boro the Caterpillar", Expelled from Paradise) is supervising the CG, and Tan Seri is serving as animation director. Yuhki Takeuchi is handling the backgrounds. Satoshi Takebe (From Up On Poppy Hill, Ronja the Robber's Daughter) is composing the music, Koji Kasamatsu is directing the sound, and Eriko Kimura is directing the dialogue recording. Kentarō Morishita is producing the animation, and Isao Yoshikuni, Keisuke Tsuchihashi, and Koji Hoshino are production managers.

The 82-minute feature will air on the NHK General channel on Wednesday, December 30 from 7:30 to 8:53 p.m. The Cannes Film Festival chose the feature as part of its Official Selection this year. GKIDS will release the feature in theaters in North America in early 2021.

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