28 May 21
Our podcast is back with a mini-interview special! Our next full episode of the show will return in early June.
In this shorter episode, host Sam Clements talks to Studio Ghibli director Gorō Miyazaki about his latest film Earwig and the Witch. The film comes to Picturehouse Cinemas from Friday 28 May.
Gorō Miyazaki speaks Japanese. In this podcast, you'll hear him at the beginning of each answer and his translator will complete the response in English. We have also published a complete transcript below.
Gorô Miyazaki, interviewed by Sam Clements
Thank you for joining us this morning Goro. In the UK, Earwig and the Witch is one of the first films to be on in cinemas after reopening, we've been closed for six months. So, we're really excited to get this film on the big screen.
So excited but very anxious to. We were planning to release it on the end of April. However, we've gone into the state of emergency again, so it's now pushed back.
I know, I'm sorry to hear that. But...I think it's worth waiting for. To see it on the big screen. I've only seen it on my computer and I'm desperate to watch this on the big screen like I've seen every other Studio Ghibli film.
We look forward to having you see it, and seeing it on the big screen too.
Are you personally a fan of watching movies on the big screen? Are you, when you watch a film Goro, do you prefer to see it at a movie theatre or online all?
Yes, I do enjoy watching it on the big screen. And especially for ones I really look forward to seeing I would go to the cinema to watch it. So even with Earwig and the Witch, we knew that it was going to come out initially on broadcast television, however, we did want to have it in the cinemas, too. So everything is made in a way that it's more with the theatrical release in mind. So with the sound and the colouring and everything.
I was gonna say, because sound is such an important part of this film, it must be you know, good to make sure audiences get the highest quality version of that, when they watch the film.
Oh, yes, I think so. Because honestly, when I first saw it on TV, I was quite disappointed with the sound quality of it so that I, I do wish that everybody would see it in the cinemas.
The film is adapted from a novel by Diana Wynne Jones, and it's set in a beautiful English village. As a English person watching the film. I was impressed by the detail. How did you research you know, your location, your setting, and build that world?
I wasn't able to visit England to research this by myself, I had to rely on my memories and what I do remember about visiting England in the past. But our background art team, I had them, the team members go, and assess just some locations that they might - that might be interesting that you found to them. And also we had some team members who had experience of studying or working in the UK. So that helped also.
Wow. So it's, it's so nice to see somewhere you recognise rendered in this beautiful animation.
Nice of you to say that, because that seems to be a very universal sensibility.
One of the things you also do so well is rendered, you know, English cuisine. On screen we don't often see dishes like shepherd's pie brought to life in such an appealing way as you do in this film.
[Laughs] I thought that it should look tasty, to satisfy. And I do find that English cuisine, the one that are properly cooked by an English person is quite tasty. I find it quite tasty. I would not tell myself to eat sushi in England, but the local cuisines can be quite tasty.
I mean, that's absolutely fair enough! Earwig is a really striking character in the film, really well designed. I did wonder how long it took to get the design of her right, you know, for you to be happy with her. And did she go through several different looks before the version we see in the film?
Yeah, Oh. Yes, it did go through a lot of different changes. We referenced the illustration on the Japanese translation of the original novel. And from there, we did, we tried out different variations. In some of them she looked more...not malicious, but a little bit more nasty. But then there were ones...different sizes, also the horns on her head, they were longer in some designs.
This film, of course, is Studio Ghibli's very first fully rendered in computer generated animation film. Was there things you could do with the computers that you couldn't have done with traditional hand drawn animation?
You might be surprised to hear, but I feel that with- one of the strengths of the 3D, that's computer generated animation, is you're able to bring out a lot of performance and acting expressions from the the characters. And I feel that we were able to do that in this project. Because in hand drawn animation there is very limited resources – when you look for talented animators who can draw like very quality drawings, but also key arts, but [are] also able to make that animated. You know, there's very few of them. So if you want to bring out a really good performance or acting from a certain character it's actually quite difficult.
What did you learn from this process of using CGI on this film that surprised you? Is there any sort of big takeaways from you personally through this film?
The biggest takeaway was basically, if you try, I mean, but yeah, you could try something you're able to...you're able to do it, once you try something. If you have the courage to do something. Before going into the project, 3D CG film I thought was going to be very, very challenging. But if you take one step at a time, you're able to reach the goal line. So that was a discovery.
Of course, music is a really important part of this film, the music The Mandrake plays, the band features in the film. How did you decide on what style of music that should be, the sound that we eventually hear the characters play in the movie?
Well, the biggest reason is obviously the story being set in the UK, and I grew up as a teenager in the 80s. And a lot of the music that I used to listen to back then was UK rock music, so it was something that I wanted to do from before, so I thought that this would be a good time to actually explore that, that side of myself too.
And what bands did you listen to when you were a teenager?
I used to listen to a lot of prog rock, Genesis...Emerson, Lake & Palmer. And then also things like Led Zeppelin.
Incredible, great taste! Some of my favourites. Just finally to round up, so, I work for a cinema company. We're very excited to be playing Earwig and The Witch when we reopen our doors, is there something you'd like to say to our audience who are about to come and watch the film?
What everybody in the UK must have went through this past year is unimaginable from us living In Japan. You've been through so many hardships. And so finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and being able to go back to watching movies in the theatre, I'm very honoured to have our film being played there. And so I just hope that people would enjoy this film.
That's brilliant. Thank you very much. I think, I think it's a wonderful film to escape with after watching films on our televisions at home for so long. This is a great return to cinema.
Thank you so much.
Thank you for your time and thank you for speaking to us this morning. Really appreciate it.
Hosted by Picturehouse's very own Sam Clements, The Love Of Cinema podcast goes deep on the best new releases, with a little help from some of our favourite film critics, plenty of special guests, and you, the audience!
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