The official English voice cast for Miyazaki’s first animated picture in ten years, “The Boy and the Heron,” has debuted.

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The entire cast will include Christian Bale as Shoichi Maki, Dave Bautista as The Parakeet King, Gemma Chan as Natsuko, Willem Dafoe as Noble Pelican, Karen Fukuhara as Lady Himi, Mark Hamill as Granduncle, Robert Pattinson as The Gray Heron, and Florence Pugh as Kiriko, according to GKIDS, the North American distributor of animation group Studio Ghibli.

They are accompanied by Dan Stevens, Tony Revolri, Mamoudou Athie, and Luca Padovan as the Parakeets and protagonist Mahito Maki. The SAG-AFTRA Foreign Dubbing Agreement was followed in the creation of the English dub.

This semi-autobiographical tale, written and directed by Miyazaki, centers on 12-year-old Mahito Maki. Mahito’s father, Shoichi, sends him to live with his aunt, Natsuko, in a secluded rural home similar of the one in “My Neighbor Totoro” (1988), following the loss of his mother in a firebombing. Mahito spots a heron in the area and follows it into a tunnel. When Mahito emerges from the tunnel and enters a large hall, he finds his mother in an illusion. Mahito travels through a fantastical paradise with the heron, “a world shared by the living and dead.”

The film had its world debut on September 7 at the Toronto International Film Festival, with a musical composition by veteran Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi.

Peter Debruge described the movie as a “epic journey into Miyazaki’s eastern spin on the Greek underworld” in a review for Variety.

Debruge stated that Miyazaki “follows his imagination, such that audiences can’t possibly guess where the narrative will go next,” as opposed to adhering to a typical three-act framework.

The Japanese and English versions of “The Boy and the Heron” will have special advance screenings on November 22 and go on general distribution on December 8.

The Boy and the Heron Voice

The English voice cast for The Boy and the Heron has been formally unveiled, and it is jam-packed with really talented actors. Previously hailed as the culmination of renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki’s remarkable career, the latest Studio Ghibli production stars Christian Bale, Florence Pugh, and Mark Hamill, to mention a few.

The Boy and the Heron Cast

This is the whole list that was made public earlier today.

Shoichi Maki – Christian Bale

The King of the Parakeet, Dave Bautista

Natsuko – Gemma Chan

Dafoe Willem – Noble Pelican

Fukuhara Karen – Lady Himi

Mark Hamill—your grandfather

The Gray Heron, Robert Pattinson

Kiriko – Florence Pugh

The Boy and the Heron, which takes place in World War II, follows Mahito Maki as he ventures into an other reality full with Ghibli’s characteristically breathtaking images. The Boy and the Heron was hailed as Miyazaki’s “ultimate statement” in our review from the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival.

This film, which also considers the legacy of a renowned director and the world he is leaving behind, is the most graphically sophisticated production from Studio Ghibli to date. It’s the ideal conclusion to Miyazaki’s career and his ultimate declaration,” we said.

But wait—despite the fact that The Boy and the Heron has been hailed as Miyazaki’s last picture, it appears that the maestro isn’t finished yet. Indeed, given that Miyazaki is supposedly already starting on his next film, it appears that this was just another retirement fake-out.

Though it may not be his last picture, it appears to be yet another fantastic Ghibli production with an outstanding ensemble. On December 8, it is scheduled to open in cinemas.


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