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WIRE Buzz: Studio Ghibli announces two new movies; Phillips wants Joker-ized Batman; more

By Josh Weiss
Spirited Away

Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli is supposedly working on two brand-new animated films this year, i-D reported this week. Despite his "retirement" around 2013, Miyazaki is directing one of them.

His project is said to be Kimi-tachi wa Dō Ikiru ka ("How Do You Live?" in English), which is based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Genzaburō Yoshino. It is described as "a coming-of-age adventure fantasy, following the 15-year-old Koperu and his uncle."

The movie — which is only 15 percent of the way toward completion — was originally going to be released for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, but Miyazaki, 78, is taking his sweet time, producing a reported one minute of animation every month. With production expected to speed up, we can now hope to see How Do You Live? in either 2021 or 2022. 

My Neighbor Totoro

Famous for movies like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, Studio Ghibli prides itself on detail-oriented animation, emotional stories, fantasy worldbuilding, and wide-ranging characters.

A theme park based on Ghibli creations is scheduled to open in Japan’s Nagakute City in 2022. All of the studio's features will be available to stream on HBO Max when the subscription service launches in the spring. A kabuki version of Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is also in the works.

While Todd Phillips is still unsure if a Joker sequel is on the way, he would like to see his grounded approach to Gotham's Clown Prince of Crime applied to the city's Caped Crusader.

“It’s a beautiful Gotham. What I would like to see someone tackle is what Batman looks like from that Gotham,” Phillips told Variety at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. “I’m not saying I’m going to do that. What was interesting to me about the inclusion of Batman in our movie was, ‘What kind of Batman does that Gotham make?’ That’s all I meant by that."


One could argue that The Batman from director Matt Reeves may take a similar approach as the comic book film (set to open in summer 2021) will strip away the hero's veneer by focusing on Bruce Wayne's early crime-fighting career. Of course, Phillips is talking about a look at the specific Bruce Wayne, who lost his parents to one of Arthur Fleck's acolytes at the end of Joker.

“The truth is we never knew it, honestly," said the director, referencing the movie's immense success since its release back in October. "Joaquin [Phoenix, who plays Arthur Fleck] and I were operating at a place where we kept thinking, ‘Let’s just make something that doesn’t end our careers.' We didn’t have any thought it could actually be good. We were blinded by the movie somehow; this was a weird one."

Phoenix made a speech at the festival, claiming that things "became unbearable" for Phillips three weeks into shooting. Watch below:

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker has been in theaters for less than a month, but members of the cast are already teasing a director's cut of the J.J. Abrams-directed film.

“Like a lot of Star Wars fans, I’m hoping there will be a director’s cut so we’ll get to see more and more of the stuff that was filmed,” Dominic Monaghan told The Hollywood Reporter. “I wasn’t there all the time, but even in the short time that I was there, there was so much stuff filmed that didn’t make it to the theatrical version ... Oh, man, there was so much stuff!”

Dominic Monaghan Getty

Monaghan played Resistance member Beaumont Kin, and while he doesn't have a large role in the final cut, the actor teased a major character moment for Kin that was deleted from the climax.

“Another thing that we will hopefully see at some point in the future is that in the final battle, Connix injures her leg,” he continued. “Obviously, myself, Rose and Connix are exiting the battle, and Rose has a weapon. While Rose is busy doing stuff, I grab Connix’s arm and put it over my shoulder to make sure that all of us come back as unscathed as possible.”