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Studio Ghibli to Adapt Joan G. Robinson’s WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE This Summer

Although you’ll have to wait until February 21, 2014 to experience the high-flying fantasy of Hayao Miyazaki’s swan song, The Wind Rises, Japanese film distributor Toho revealed in its 2014 lineup that Studio Ghibli’s next film will be an adaptation of the classic English children’s novel When Marnie Was There by Joan G. Robinson. With The Secret World of Arrietty director Hiromasa Yonebayashi attached to helm, the film is set to come out in the summer of 2014.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with the book, here’s the publisher’s description from Amazon:

Anna hasn’t a friend in the world – until she meets Marnie among the sand dunes. But Marnie isn’t all she seems…An atmospheric ghost story with truths to tell about friendship, families and loneliness. Anna lives with foster parents, a misfit with no friends, always on the outside of things. Then she is sent to Norfolk to stay with old Mr and Mrs Pegg, where she runs wild on the sand dunes and around the water. There is a house, the Marsh House, which she feels she recognises – and she soon meets a strange little girl called Marnie, who becomes Anna’s first ever friend. Then one day, Marnie vanishes. A new family, the Lindsays, move into the Marsh House. Having learnt so much from Marnie about friendship, Anna makes firm friends with the Lindsays – and learns some strange truths about Marnie, who was not all she seemed…

The novel is one of the 50 books that Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki recommended in a list he created for children. In September, Miyazaki announced his retirement from feature films after his 11th film, The Wind Rises.

Based on a screenplay co-written by Keiko Niwa (From Up on Poppy Hill, The Secret World of Arrietty), Masashi Ando (character designer for Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Paprika), and Yonebayashi, the film still bears Hayao Miyazaki’s influence; When Marnie Was There appeared on a list of 50 children’s books curated by Miyazaki himself. The film’s website bears the tagline, “There is a magical circle invisible to the naked eye in this world.” Apart from that, little is known about the forthcoming production, but given Studio Ghibli’s pedigree, I’m excited nonetheless.

What do you think? Are you looking forward to When Marnie Was There (Omoide no Marnie)? Let us know in the comments below!

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3 comments

  • If only they would use actual ‘professional’ voice-actors when dubbing Ghibli productions. Not just whoever’s the most talented or famous on-screen actor/actress at the time. It may occasionally work, and it does in most Disney/Pixar animated movies, but personally I don’t care much for hearing a voice-over by someone already famous, that also probably didn’t even have to audition for it. They were probably already ‘contracted’ by the studio, and just happen to have an open schedule. I understand why ,from a business standpoint, they do this Just not from a fan ‘of anime’ perspective. Although, I guess that in itself is a little biased.
    Anyway, that’s my two cents on the matter. Even if Disney goes the usual route, as I’m sure they will. I’ll still probably pick this up on Blu-ray whenever it’s released in the US. But mainly because of the pedigree that is, and continues to be, Studio Ghibli.

    Anyone interested in who may be the next ‘Miyazaki-like’ writer/director out there should check out “Wolf Children” by Mamoru Hosoda. He also directed “Summer Wars”, both released in the US by Funimation.

    Just one last thing. Happy Holiday’s to everyone @ Nerdist.
    Hope you all have a safe and Merry New Year’s too!

  • Sorry 2x posts.
    But, “Summer Wars” is premiering on Adult Swim tonight.
    Give it a lookey-see. And just to show relevance, the protagonist is a math nerd. So there.

  • Arriettey had heart, but damn it was boring as hell. It just didn’t have the grand sense of adventure that other Ghibli stories have. Let’s hope this one is a little better, but something tells me they will stay conservative to the source material.