Miyazaki father and son team up for 'From Up on Poppy Hill' film

Thu Mar 14, 2013 4:37pm EDT
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli have, under their belt, some of Japan's biggest global anime movie successes, including "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away," which won an Academy Award in 2003.

Far less known, until now, was Miyazaki's son Goro, who worked as a landscaper for years so as not to compete with his famous father, but later designed the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo and debuted as a director in 2006 with "Tales from Earthsea."

Now, for the first time, the pair has teamed up on a film, with Hayao, 72, as co-writer and 46-year-old Goro as director, overcoming a contentious relationship stretching back years.

"From Up on Poppy Hill," opening in U.S. movie theaters on Friday, is set in Japan in 1963 and focuses on a high school romance threatened by a secret.

Goro Miyazaki talked to Reuters recently, via a translator, about working with his father, a man he was once estranged from.

Q: Umi, the female protagonist in "Poppy Hill," has been raising flags for a decade for her deceased father. While yours is very much alive and well, did Umi's longing for her dad stir up anything for you when it comes to your own famous father?

A: The common thread between myself and the character is that the dad was always out working and was never really around. I'd be lying to you if I didn't say that there were times when I thought that maybe my dad should have died a little earlier, just as the character did. I feel like I can really empathize with a child's longing for an absent father.

Q: Now that you're working together, how closely was your father involved in the making of "Poppy Hill?"   Continued...

Tales from Earthsea director Goro Miyazaki, son of Hayao Miyazaki, speaks during an interview at Studio Ghibli in Tokyo August 11, 2006. REUTERS/Michael Caronna