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WIRE Buzz: Studio Ghibli film sets English cast; Netflix summons The Magician's Elephant; Lucifer

By Josh Weiss
Earwig and the Witch

Earwig And The Witch, the latest cinematic effort from Japan-based Studio Ghibli, has announced its English voice cast.

GKIDS, which is handling North American distribution, confirmed that Richard E. Grant (Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker), Dan Stevens (Legion), and Vanessa Marshall (Harley Quinn) are all lending their voices to the dub as The Mandrake, Thomas, and Bella Yaga respectively. Kacey Musgraves ("Earwig's Mother") Pandora Colin ("Matron"), Alex Cartañá ("Assistant Matron"), JB Blanc ("Mr. Jerkins"), Logan Hannan ("Custard"), Summer Jenkins ("Phyllis"), Vivienne Rutherford ("Sally"), Tom Bromhead ("Cook"), and Eva Kaminsky ("Assistant Cook") are also attached.

Earwig and the Witch

Helmed by Hayao Miyazaki's son, Goro Miyazaki (From Up on Poppy Hill), Earwig tells the story of a young orphan girl (the titular Earwig, voiced in English by Taylor Paige Henderson) who finds herself adopted by a strange couple and living with a selfish witch. Unaware that her own birth mother had magical powers, the headstrong heroine "sets out to uncover the secrets of her new guardians [and] discovers a world of spells and potions, and a mysterious song that may be the key to finding the family she has always wanted," reads the official synopsis.

Unlike previous Ghibli projects, Earwig and the Witch is animated with 3D CGI. Based on the children's book of the same name by Diana Wynne Jones, the film will air on NHK in Japan on Dec. 30 before making its way to North America in early 2021.

Speaking of animated films based on children's books...Netflix announced today that it's currently in production on an adaptation of The Magician's Elephant by Newbery-winner Kate DiCamillo. No premiere date has been fixed yet.

Marking the directorial debut of VFX veteran Wendy Rogers (Shrek, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian), the film follows Peter (A Quiet Place's Noah Jupe), a boy searching for his sister, Adel (Mary Poppins Returns' Pixie Davies). In his search, Peter comes across a fortune teller who informs the boy that he must seek out a mysterious white elephant and the magician (Doctor Strange's Benedict Wong) who can conjure it. To find the magician, however, Peter must complete three harrowing tasks.

Check out a first look below:

The Magician's Elephant

“Peter’s story planted itself in my heart when I first read the book; I felt very connected to him, and was totally captivated by the world and the characters. The power of hope, the belief that anything is possible, and the ability to ask "what if?" are all themes that are woven into the fabric of this film, and resonate now more than ever," Rogers said in a statement.

Written by Martin Hynes (Toy Story 4), the film is produced by Julia Pistor (Jimmy Neutron, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events).

"When I first read Kate DiCamillo's book, I knew that I had to make The Magician's Elephant into a film," Pastor said. "It's as inspiring as it is entertaining, and has such a wonderful blend of adventure, heart, magic and off-center humor. The film has such a unique visual style that transports the audience away to another world, one that Wendy and I wanted to ensure reflects the world as it really is full of different cultures and beliefs."

Lucifer's sixth and final season on Netflix just added a pair of damn fine actresses to its roster: Merrin Dungey (Francine Calfo on Alias) and Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead in Fox's two Deadpool films).

Per Entertainment Weekly, Dungey is playing Sonya, "a no-nonsense uniform cop who forms an unlikely bond with Amenadiel [played by DB Woodside]." Hildebrand, on the other hand, will portray Rory, "a rebellious, angsty, and ready-to-start-some-trouble angel" looking to emulate Tom Ellis's Satan. However, she eventually discovers that "Lucifer isn’t exactly the devilish big bro she hoped he’d be."

Merrin Dungey & Brianna Hildebrand

While it's now filming, Season 6 is still on the horizon, as Netflix still needs to release the second half of the show's fifth and penultimate season.