VO Behind The Scenes: Miyazaki’s Ponyo
Hayao Miyazaki isn’t quite a household name in America, but his anime films are legendary in film circles. Nominated for several Oscars (and numerous other awards) in his career, Miyazaki continues to create wondrous animated films on a regular basis. When they’re brought over to the American market by Disney, a whole new voice cast is brought in to re-dub the films into English. These voice casts usually include a number of big name celebrities (It is Disney, after all!) as well as numerous voice actors to help fill out the supporting roles.
In the newest Miyazaki film, Ponyo, Liam Neeson has one of the lead roles, as does young Noah Cyrus (younger sister of Miley). Our good friends over at Live For Films have shared some recent interviews with Neeson and Cyrus about the film, and we’ve also found some great behind the scenes videos to give you a look into the making of this fascinating new film!
What do you make of Miyazaki films in general?
He seems to dip into various cultures from around the world. Dips into the myths and fantasies of different countries and then adds something else himself. Some phantasmagorical element that’s purely him, you know.
What is your character like in Ponyo?
I play this character Fujimoto who I guess is the regulator of the oceans. He lives under water but he is capable of coming up on dry land as long as he remains wet. He can’t dry out. And he’s kind of a Merlin type figure. Capable of making magic potions and he kind of addresses and keeps in balance, tries to keep in balance the whole eco system of the ocean. I guess that’s his job. He’s quite a colourful strange character.
What were the rest of the Ponyo cast like?
Noah and Frankie were wonderful as their characters, as Ponyo and the little boy. Cate Blanchett again delivers a lovely, magical, soft soothing voice that’s pretty special.
In your opinion what can the audience of Ponyo expect?
Just to enjoy the story which is quite wonderful and magical. There’s lessons there, there’s something there for everyone. On just an aspect of how to live one’s life and to live each moment and to be curious about life and celebrate it.
What is the story of Ponyo about?
The story is all about saving the world. In the very beginning Ponyo gets stuck in a net when a fishing boat cleans the bottom of the ocean. She’s swimming around and she’s trying to get away from it. And then her heads gets stuck into a bottle and then she finally gets out of that little net thing. She floats to the shore in the bottle and then stops and Sosuke goes to the shallow part and gets her.
What about the rest of the cast on the film, who were you excited about working with?
I was excited working with Frankie Jonas; I was excited to work with Cate Blanchett and Liam Neeson and Matt Damon and Tina Fey and everybody.
It’s a great cast isn’t it?
It was amazing that I got to have such good actors and actresses by me.
And in terms of the actual role itself was it easy or difficult for you to do the acting without being on screen?
Doing Ponyo was kinda hard because I heard Japanese in my headphones and so it was really hard to speak the lines in English. I had to learn, and it was a lot of fun though.
And does your sister give you a lot of advice?
My sister and my Dad give me lots of advice. My Dad says about acting “if you’re not having fun with it, then it isn’t working out for you”.
But you had fun with Ponyo though yeah?
I had a lot of fun doing Ponyo. It was my first movie and it was a blast!
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