The 80-year-old filmmaker reverses his retirement (again) to craft another Ghibli classic.
Hayao Miyazaki, the celebrated mind that has concocted classic animated films such as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, has stepped out of retirement and back to the animation studio to direct one last film.
In a rare interview with The New York Times, the 80-year-old Japanese filmmaker again confirmed that he is working on one more feature-length project titled How Do You Live?, justifying his comeback only by saying: “Because I wanted to.”
The feature film is based on a 1937 novel by Yoshino GenzaburÅ of the same name about a 15-year-old boy Junichi Honda who goes to live with his uncle after his father died and undergoes spiritual growth, poverty, and the overall experience as human beings.
Details about Miyazaki’s last movie are meager as of the moment, with Studio Ghibli co-founder and producer Toshio Suzuki only describing the project as “fantasy on a grand scale.” According to an Entertainment Weekly interview with Suzuki last May, the film is estimated to see light within the next three years, as one year of hand-drawn work comprises about “12 minutes worth of movie.” Last December 2020, Suzuki said that the film is about “half finished.”
Miyazaki making a return to animation isn’t exactly a surprising sight. The first time he announced his retirement was in the late 1990s but would return a year later with a story idea for the film that would eventually win the 2002 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Spirited Away.
Then in 2005, a year after releasing Howl’s Moving Castle, Miyazaki once again expressed his intent to retire, making way for his son GorÅ to oversee an adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels. A year later, he would immerse himself in the creation of his next film, Ponyo.
Finally, in 2013, Miyazaki again declared his plans to punctuate his career, along with the news that The Wind Rises will be his last feature film.