Although The Boy and the Heron has been promoted as Hayao Miyazaki’s final movie, new comments from a Studio Ghibli executive suggest that the reports of the Japanese animation legend’s retirement may be greatly exaggerated.
“Other people say that this might be his last film, but he doesn’t feel that way at all,” Studio Ghibli VP Junichi Nishioka told CBC through a translator. “He is currently working on ideas for a new film. He comes into his office every day and does that. This time, he’s not going to announce his retirement at all. He’s continuing working just as he has always done.”
The Boy and the Heron, Miyazaki’s first film in a decade, had its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday with a surprise introduction by Guillermo del Toro. “We are privileged enough to be living in a time where Mozart is composing symphonies. Miyazaki-san is a master of that stature, and we are so lucky to be here,” Del Toro said.
This isn’t the first time that Miyazaki has returned to moviemaking after supposedly retiring. He previously stepped away in the late 1990s after making Princess Mononoke, said that Spirited Away would be his last feature-length animated film in 2001 and announced plans to retire after The Wind Rises in 2013.
“There’s nothing more pathetic than telling the world you’ll retire because of your age, then making another comeback,” Miyazaki jokingly wrote in journal excerpts shared in his new film’s press notes. “Doesn’t an elderly person deluding themself that they’re still capable, despite their geriatric forgetfulness, prove that they’re past their best? You bet it does.”
The Boy and the Heron will hit North American theaters on Dec. 8. The film premiered earlier this summer in Japan under the title How Do You Live?