Hayao Miyazaki: No, I didn't think that this would be my last film when we started production. It was only when the film was accomplished, completed, that I thought of making this my last film. Of course, we have different ideas still left on the table, but it will take much more time, so it's not really realistic at this time and I have not so much time left in my life. So.
So you won't make another film then?
I probably won't do another film.
This film was a real departure for you, you often concentrate your film in a short period of time, have a little girl heroine, why such a big change in your approach to the film storytelling?
To be honest with you, we actually only had this project on the table at the time. The original, the first idea came from a manga I had drawn for a hobby. And all of the characters in this manga, all the men had the face of a boar or a pig. Then the producer told me 'why don't you make THIS a film?' And I said 'no, this is not possible.' And then we continued the conversation and we found out finally that we could make a film.
But I was very anxious that we would need to leave the kids in a way, a part of the audience. But one of the members of our studio mentioned that even if the kids don't understand what they see, one day they will come to understand the film. When we started the project this project as a film it was like we digging a tomb for ourselves and our studio. The result fortunately was good, but we were working with that sense.
Did you identify with the young engineer in the film, was he speaking for you as an artist in some way?
The similarity may be that when we work very hard on one thing we are concentrating on one thing, I'm that type of person/ The protagonist is a blend of the engineer Jiro Horikoshi and the author Hori Tatsuo who lived in the period when my parents lived in Japan, actually. Both are very quiet people and very sincere in their lives.
You are celebrating the kind of innovation and freedom in creativity that you practiced making this film.
Well, my way of living is not so smart as the protagonist. Maybe we look alike when we smoke. There's a lot of smoking.
Do you think when you make your films about the audience outside of Japan, or are you giving films to Japan first and foremost?
When I make a movie I usually think about one or two persons very close to me. For 'Wind Rises' it was one boy. I can't tell you who, because he himself does not know that I made the film for him. But he said he really liked it after seeing it. He's fourteen years old.
In terms of the animation, was there anything you had to do that was difficult and challenging?
First of all to recreate the atmosphere of this period, the history in Japan. The challenge was, we were afraid that the movie would stand well when recreating that atmosphere. And also if this type of theme would fit as an animation film. The challenging part was drawing the scenes when see a lot of people in one scene, we needed to keep the respect of each person that appears on the screen.
Did you expect the controversy and objections to the film in Japan?
I actually knew it would raise controversy, I knew that some people would be against these kind of protagonists, engineers making fighter planes. In another way I'm surprised and grateful to the people of the US --we once fought the second world war, but the people in the US generously accepted the film.
True. How do you feel about the support John Lasseter and Disney have given your films over the years? Were they definitely going to release this non-family film? (Shrugs)
After looking at 'The Wind Rises' John Lasseter said it was like 'Doctor Zhivago.' Actually I thought the same when I was in the production, so it was funny to see him mention the comparison as well.
Who do you admire among animators in other countries?
How much involved in supervising Studio Ghibli's output will you be?
I'm pretty much apart from everything going on at the studio, I always try to stay a bit aside from what's happening inside the studio. I think the relationship will continue pretty much the same, when I have free time I will go, if I have anything to do at the studio, of course I will go. And if you have the chance to come I will give you some coffee.
I will come! Are you still writing movies?
I'm actually working hard on exhibition projects at the Ghibli museum.
Then I'll also come to the Ghibli Museum.