Legendary anime director and Lifetime Achievement Academy Award winner, Hayao Miyazaki, has stated that he wants to return to making a feature film. The statement was made during a television special called Owaranai Hito Miyazaki Hayao (The Man Who is Not Done: Hayao Miyazaki.) Miyazaki retired from directing anime feature films after his last movie, The Wind Rises. Since then, he has been working on a CG animated short for the Studio Ghibli Museum called Kemushi no Boro (Boro the Caterpillar.) In the special, Miyazaki stated that he was not satisfied with this being an animated short and expressed interest in turning it into a full-length feature film.
Miyazaki presented the proposal back in August and stated that if it is approved, the movie will take somewhere in the neighborhood of five years to make, meaning we won’t see this movie until at least 2022, but Miyazaki said that it could be done as early as 2019 or right before the 2020 Olympic games. Miyazaki also stated that if the film is approved and completed, he would be 80 years old when the film releases in theaters.
Despite the anime not being approved yet, Miyazaki already has begun work drawing and creating storyboards for over 100 cuts of footage. Toshio Suzuki, producer for Studio Ghibli, wasn’t surprised by this as he stated that Miyazaki will “draw storyboards until the day he dies.”
Miyazaki has had the idea for this story for nearly twenty years and describes the short (or, perhaps full-length film) as “a story of a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers.” Right now as it stands, the short will run for approximately 12 minutes and is still scheduled to be completed. The short should be ready for the Ghibli Museum sometime in 2017.
One must speculate if this spark to return to film had anything to do with Makoto Shinkai’s Kimi no Na wa (Your Name)’s success. While still at #4 in Japanese all-time animated movie rankings, the film is doing incredibly well and on pace to earn 20 billion yen ($200 million), especially with new markets still coming. Miyazaki still owns the top three spots on the greatest anime films of all-time list with Spirited Away firmly holding onto the #1 spot.