(Photo: Studio Ghibli)
Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Oscar-winning Japanese animated film Spirited Away is getting the stage treatment. Tony and Olivier-winning director John Caird is set to write and direct the production, which will have its world premiere in Tokyo in 2022, according to Deadline.
Spirited Away tells the story of Chihiro, a 10-year-old girl moving with her parents to their new home. They lose themselves in a mysterious world of fantastic spirits, ruled over by the sorceress Yubaba, who turns Chihiro’s parents into pigs. After a series of bizarre and dangerous challenges, including the loss of her identity, Chihiro must use her wits to survive in this strange place and return to the human world.
“We, Hayao and I, both liked John’s vision,” said Studio Ghibli’s Toshio Suzuki, who originally produced Spirited Away. “He is a person we can trust. I am looking forward to seeing Chihiro grow on stage under his direction.”
The main role of Chihiro will be played by two performers: Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi. While this will mark Hashimoto’s debut, Kamishiraishi is known for her voice work in Your Name and Weathering With You.
Caird is a two-time Tony winner for directing the original production of Les Misérables in 1987 and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby in 1982. He was also nominated for his direction of Stanley in 1997 and for the book and score of Jane Eyre in 2001. He is an honorary associate director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
The film, which earned 34 awards of its 37 nominations, including the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, held the title for highest-grossing movie ever in Japan for 19 years until recently being overtaken by Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train in 2020.
Spirited Away will play at Toho’s Imperial Theatre from February through March 2022. The production will then tour throughout Japan in the spring and summer.