The official Twitter account for Studio Ghibli's international branch posted a third official movie poster for director Hayao Miyazaki's upcoming The Wind Rises (Kaze ga Tachinu) film. The poster features the main character Jirō Horikoshi and the remnants of a Japanese airplane.
In February 2009, Miyazaki launched a two-part manga mini-series called "Kaze Tachinu" that focuses on Jirō Horikoshi, the designer of Japan's famed Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter plane of World War II. Author Tatsuo Hori also wrote a novel called Kaze Tachinu, and the film's tagline on the poster references both real-life figures and paraphrases Hori's book: "Show respect for Jiro Horikoshi and Tatsuo Hori. We must try to live." (Hori himself was reportedly quoting Paul Valéry's "Le cimetière marin" or "The Graveyard By The Sea" poem, which read, "Le vent se lève! . . . il faut tenter de vivre!" or "The wind is rising! . . . We must try to live!")
TOHO had planned to release another anime film from Ghibli, Isao Takahata's Kaguya-hime no Monogatari (The Tale of Princess Kaguya), on the same day as The Wind Rises. However, TOHO announced in February that it delayed Takahata's film until this fall.
52-year-old Evangelion director Hideaki Anno will make his feature anime film voice-acting debut as the protagonist Jirō Horikoshi. Singer and songwriter Yumi Matsutoya will perform the song “Hikōki Gumo” (Airplane Cloud) as a theme song for the film. She also composed the song when she was 16 years old.
The Wind Rises looks to be Hayao Miyazaki's final film, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt wanted to be a part of the famed Japanese director's 50-year legacy in animation.
Gordon-Levitt headlines a top-notch voice cast for the American release next year of The Wind Rises, which has already garnered a Golden Globe nomination for best foreign film and could be in line for a nod in the Oscar category of best animated feature.
"What I love about acting is becoming somebody else, and when you're just doing the voice and the animation is providing the visuals, you can really become someone else," says Gordon-Levitt, a fan of Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke (1997) and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away (2001).
The Wind Rises, which had an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles last month and was named the 2013 best animated film by the National Board of Review, will be released in theaters Feb. 21.
The historical fantasy casts Gordon-Levitt as Jiro Horikoshi, a young Japanese boy in the early 20th century who dreams of flying with the birds and meeting Italian plane designer Giovanni Caproni (Stanley Tucci). Jiro can't become a pilot due to his poor vision, but as he grows up he becomes an aeronautical engineer who designs the fighter planes that the Japanese would ultimately use during World War II — and has to deal with the emotional consequences of his role in the destruction.
For producer Frank Marshall, it's a "remarkable" ensemble cast that also includes Emily Blunt, John Krasinski and Mandy Patinkin. "We credit the beauty and magic of Mr. Miyazaki's final film for bringing together this phenomenal group of performers."
The Wind Rises is a family affair for Blunt, who plays Nahoko, Jiro's dying love interest afflicted with tuberculosis. She commuted to the recording studio with her husband Krasinski, who plays aircraft designer Honyo, and Tucci is married to Blunt's sister.
The actress calls the movie Miyazaki's most complex work to date. "It's that dreamlike idea of thinking for one's self," she says. "My character represents that idea, that purity of dreaming for a better world, and that's partly because she knows she hasn't got long in this world."
Gordon-Levitt feels The Wind Rises is "clearly the work of someone who's a master at their craft" but also strikes a different balance between fantasy and reality than the 72-year-old Miyazaki's other films.
Instead of imaginary creatures and worlds, "this one is more grounded in human beings and a historical moment in time," Gordon-Levitt says. However, "there's still a flavor of magic in it as you go inside the mind of this aeronautics engineer and you see him walking on the wings of airplanes in his dream."
If Miyazaki does stay true to his word that he's retiring from filmmaking, The Wind Rises makes for a nice farewell, according to Blunt.
"We must live" is a line audiences will hear in the movie, she says, "and it's through our losses and our accomplishments, as if we're emboldened by our dreams, that we must live. That's a really deep message for a lot of people."
ENGLISH-LANGUAGE CAST FOR THE WIND RISES
Joseph Gordon-Levitt — main character Jiro Horikoshi
Emily Blunt — love interest Nahoko Satomi
John Krasinski — Honjo, Jiro's college pal and fellow aviation engineer
Martin Short — Kurokawa, Jiro's grumpy boss
Stanley Tucci — Caproni, Italian airplane creator
Mandy Patinkin — Hattori, senior designer at Mitsubishi
William H. Macy — Satomi, Nahoko's father
Werner Herzog — the mysterious Castorp
Mae Whitman — Kayo, Jiro's younger sister, as well as Kinu, Nahoko's caretaker
Jennifer Grey — Mrs. Kurokawa
Darren Criss — Katayama, one of Jiro's engineering colleagues
Elijah Wood — Sone, another of Jiro's colleagues
Ronan Farrow — Mitsubishi employee