Friday, December 18, 2009

Studio Ghibli announces its animated adaptation of the children's classic "The Borrowers"

by Chris MaGee

Back in October we reported that Studio Ghibli was going to be expanding its roster of directors with the announcement of a new feature film project. At that point all the folks at Ghibli were saying was that this new director would be a young talent, and many were speculating that it could be Hiromasa Yonebayashi, one of the key animators on Miyazaki Senior's "Ponyo" and the assistant animation director on Goro Miyazaki's "Tales from Earthsea", but as far as the film itself no details were released. Now Tokyograph is reporting that Gibli has broken their silence about this new director and his new film.

In a press conference that took place at Ghibli's headquarters on Wednesday it was confirmed that the new talent at the studio that's previously brought us "Princess Mononoke", "Grave of the Fireflies" and "Whisperings of the Heart" is indeed Hiromasa Yonebayashi, but the film that he will be helming is a bit of surprise. Ghibli and Yonebayashi will be adapting Mary Norton's 1952 children's novel "The Borrowers" into an animated feature titled "Karigurashi no Arrietty".

"The Borrowers" tells the story of a society of tiny people who live under the floor boards of an English manor and borrow items for our world. When a young boy has that feeling that we all get - "Where did I put that? I just set it down there..." - he ends up discovering this secret world below his feet. Norton's novel has already been brought to the screen three time, in 1973 for a TV movie, once in 1992 and most recently in 1998 by Peter Hewitt in a film that starred John Goodman, Hugh Laurie, and Jim Broadbent.

The official site for "Karigurashi no Arrietty" has already gone live (you can check it out here), and it's obvious that Yonebayashi isn;t going to be setting this in 1950's England like the source novel, but in present day Japan. Could be very interesting... Studio Ghibli plans to release "Karigurashi no Arrietty" in Japanese next summer.

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