Hayao Miyazaki’s New Studio Ghibli Film Is Still Years Away

One of the studio’s new approaches is to “spend more time and spend more money” on the project.

Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki has offered an update on Hayao Miyazaki‘s next film for the Japanese animation powerhouse. Described as a “big, fantastical story”, How Do You Live? is being adapted from Yoshino Genzaburo’s 1937 book, Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka. The tale follows a young boy who has to go and live with his uncle after his father dies, and charts how he deals with spiritual growth, poverty, and the overall human experience.

Miyazaki announced he would retire again back in 2013 – “I know I’ve said I would retire many times in the past. Many of you must think, ‘Once again.’ But this time I am quite serious” – but it hasn’t stuck, and How Do You Live? will be one of the biggest projects of the Spirited Away director’s lengthy career.

“Many directors make films on and on and on throughout their careers as they grow older,” Suzuki told EW. “When Miyazaki came back and said that I want to make a film again, I actually said that’s not a great idea because he’s achieved so much already. You can’t come back and do something that you’ve already done in the past, you have to do something different. One of the ideas that came out from that was, why not spend more time and spend more money [to make a film]? So, that’s one of the new approaches.”

Don’t expect How Do You Live? to appear any time soon, then, as Studio Ghibli is meticulously creating the film by hand, and even with a substantial cluster of people working on the project, it still takes the animation team an entire month to finish just one minute of footage.

“We are still hand-drawing everything, but it takes us more time to complete a film because we’re drawing more frames,” he said. “So, there are more drawings to draw than before. Back when we were making [1988’s] My Neighbor Totoro, we only had eight animators. Totoro we made in eight months. [For] the current film that Hayao Miyazaki is working on, we have 60 animators, but we are only able to come up with one minute of animation in a month. That means 12 months a year, you get 12 minutes worth of movie. Actually, we’ve been working on this film for three years, so that means we have 36 minutes completed so far. We’re hoping it will finish in the next three years.”

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