The return of Studio Ghibli has commenced with the official trailer debuts for the studio’s new feature, “Earwig and the Witch.” Based on the children’s novel of the same name by author Diana Wynne Jones, “Earwig” marks the first solo Studio Ghibli production since the 2014 release of “When Marnie Was There.” The Japanese animation giant co-produced 2016’s “The Red Turtle.”
“Earwig and the Witch” is directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, and marks the studio’s first feature fully rendered with CG animation. The decision to pass on the studio’s famous hand-drawn style has made “Earwig” a polarizing title, but the Cannes Film Festival did give the title its seal approval by naming it part of the 2020 official selection earlier this year. The English-language dub is set to feature the voices of Oscar nominee Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”), Kacey Musgraves (“Golden Hour”), and Dan Stevens (“Legion”). Six-time Grammy winner Musgraves has also recorded an English-language version of the film’s theme song, “Don’t Disturb Me.”
The official “Earwig and the Witch” synopsis from GKids reads: “Growing up in an orphanage in the British countryside, Earwig has no idea that her mother had magical powers. Her life changes dramatically when a strange couple takes her in, and she is forced to live with a selfish witch. As the headstrong young girl sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians, she discovers a world of spells and potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted.”
While the CG animation featured in “Earwig” is proving divisive, Studio Ghibli will return to its more traditional animation roots with its next feature, Hayao Miyazaki’s “How Do You Live?” The hand-drawn animated film is set to bring Miyazaki out of retirement as his first feature since 2013’s “The Wind Rises.”
“Earwig and the Witch” is scheduled to air on NHK in Japan on December 30. GKids will release the film in North America in early 2021, qualifying the movie for awards consideration. Watch the trailer for “Earwig and the Witch” in the videos below:
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