The Boy and the Heron composer Kenshi Yonezu spoke about what it was like working with legendary animation director and Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki.
Through X (formerly Twitter), GKIDS Films recently shared a joint interview between Yonezu and Masaki Suda, who voices the titular heron in the Japanese version of the film. Here, Yonezu explains what it was like collaborating with Miyazaki and his staff while composing Heron’s theme song, “Spinning Globe.” “I got to the point where I didn’t know what was right anymore,” Yonezu said. “I always work alone in the studio, writing songs by myself… this time I was very lost. It’s overwhelming when there are so many factors coming together.” The male singer also felt similarly scared when Miyazaki met him to listen to “Spinning Globe”. “I really thought I was going to die at that point,” he admitted. “…It feels like I’m going to the execution ground.”
As part of his creative process for Heron, Yonezu worked with a former collaborator named Bandou, carefully revising the song based on arranger feedback. “I was in a private room, just composing songs with my guitar, then I said, ‘this is how it turned out, what do you think?’ He rearranged it on the piano a bit and played it again for me. Then we say something like, ‘this sounds a bit out of place; let’s start from the beginning…it really is like a boot camp from hell’ .” However, Yonezu’s efforts finally paid off when Miyazaki was moved to tears when he heard it for the first time.
Suda also took time to explain what it was like working with Miyazaki on The Boy and the Heron. Since this was only Suda’s second voice role, he prepared for it by watching a video of herons and listening to their calls. However, he was unsure how he could replicate these calls in his performance. “There was a sense of tension because he (Miyazaki) was listening,” Suda said. However, while he was trying out different voices during his audition, Miyazaki stopped him and declared “That’s it!” He also playfully apologized to Suda for giving him such a strange role.
After an unusually sparse marketing campaign, The Boy and the Heron arrived in Japanese theaters on July 14. Set in Japan during World War II, the film revolves around a boy named Mahito Maki moved to the countryside with his father after his mother died in a hospital fire. While struggling with his mother’s death and his father’s remarriage, Mahito comes across a talking gray heron who informs Mahito that his mother is still alive. Driven by the hope of reuniting with her, Mahito follows the heron into another world filled with magic. In Japan, Heron had the best opening weekend of any Ghibli film, grossing more than 1.83 billion yen (about $13.2 million) in its first three days in theaters. According to Ghibli’s Vice President, Miyazaki has canceled his retirement plans and is currently working on another animated film at Ghibli.
The Boy and the Heron will open in theaters in North America on December 8.
Source: X (formerly Twitter)