March 20, 2006


Ursula K. LeGuin's A WIZARD OF EARTHSEAStudio Ghibli has found itself in a strange place with its upcoming TALES FROM EARTHSEA, directed by Hayao Miyazaki's son, Goro Miyazaki. Previously, Ghibli walked on water and was treated with reverence by the press and fans, as if its films could cure disease when watched respectfully enough. However, when they announced that Goro, previously a landscape architect, was the director of TALES FROM EARTHSEA something went wrong. Hayao Miyazaki hasn't been shy about his disapporval of the choice of directors and the studio has raced to correct public perception that this is sheer nepotism.

Goro's been blogging about the movie's production (where does he find the time?) and now Ghibli has posted an essay by the Japanese translator of Ursula K. LeGuin's EARTHSEA books, Masako Shimizu. Ms. Shimizu is not involved with the movie, in fact the article mostly deals with her turning down their request for her to handle the translation. But based on her few meetings with Goro she's able to say that  he has a good face, "A well-defined face, with clear eyes and a straight gaze," which is, well, great I guess.

What concerns Ghibli is that she's giving her blessing to the project, but what's of interest to me is the following sentences:

"Perhaps it was at the end of May that I received a letter from Ursula Le Guin, and learned that people from Ghibli visited her home in Portland, Oregon. It was a cheerful and buoyant letter, and did not touch upon the tense situation that Mr. Suzuki, the producer, revealed in his long interview with the Yomiuri Shimbun later on."

Does anyone know what situation she's referring to? And does anyone know what's the next step in Ghibli's campaign to rehabilitate poor ol' Goro?

March 20, 2006 at 08:34 AM in News | Permalink


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I believe this is referring to an interview with Suzuki where he talked about the meeting with LeGuin. He convinced Miyazaki (The Elder)to go with him to see LeGuin.
When she raised some issues about why Goro was making the movie rather than Hayao, he got upset and stormed around a bit, saying he thought it was a bad idea too but what was a father to do, etc, etc...

Afterwards LeGuin gave her blessing, everyone calmed down and they had a nice lunch.

There was a link to an english translation floating around somewhere but I no longer have it.

Posted by: gmac223 | Mar 21, 2006 1:42:14 AM

I'm surprised that Le Guin gave her blessing -- from what we've seen so far this will be as white as an episode of Friends (the Ghibli version of Ged hardly looks like a Native American), yet it was the lack of minority characters that contributed in no small part to Le Guin's very public dislike of the SciFi Channel version.

Posted by: JeanMichel | Mar 22, 2006 1:39:23 AM

I thought that, too. And it looks like Ghibli has transported her story, which I remember as being very medieval, into one of their patented 19th Century Euro settings.

So whas' up with that, Ursula? It's okay when the Japanese make your characters white, but if a hacky American cable channel does it you're going to get upset? Or was the whiteness thing a side issue and her real problem with the Sci Fi miniseries was that it sucked or that they didn't pay homage to her?

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Mar 22, 2006 4:31:13 AM

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