Studio Ghibli is bringing magic back into the theatres! The legendary Japanese animation house released, The Boy and the Heron, on December 8, 2023, which many are saying could be the last film directed by the company’s founder, Miyazaki Hayao. On top of that, the voice actors behind the film’s English version includes huge Hollywood stars, such as Robert Pattinson and Florence Pugh!

Keep reading for everything we know about The Boy and the Heron.

When Does ‘The Boy and the Heron’?

The Boy and The Heron is out now in U.S. theatres.

Who Stars In ‘The Boy and the Heron’?

As with past Studio Ghibli films, which includes the legendary Oscar-award winning Spirited Away, The Boy and the Heron includes a stacked voice acting cast.

Christian Bale voices Shoichi Maki, returning to the studio for the first time since voicing Howl in the English version of 2004’s Howl’s Moving Castle. Robert Pattinson is playing The Gray Heron, Florence Pugh takes on the role of Kiriko, Marvel’s Dave Bautista is playing The Parakeet King, Gemma Chan stars as Natsuko, Willem Dafoe as the Noble Pelican, Karen Fukuhara as Lady Himi and Mark Hamill as Granduncle.

What Is ‘The Boy and the Heron’ About?

Written and directed by Ghibli founder Miyazaki Hayao, The Boy and the Heron is a semi-autobiographical story that follows a 12-year-old boy named Mahito Maki after the death of his mother.

Mahito is sent by his father, Shoichi, to live with his aunt, Natsuko, in a remote country house in Japan. There, he spots a heron around and follows the bird through a tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, he sees an illusion of his mother, leading the child to explore an imaginative wonderland, “a world shared by the living and dead.”

In 2021, Miyazaki himself told the New York Times that he has one goal in mind whenever he makes his next film.

“The mission of my films is to comfort you — to fill in the gap that might be in your heart or your everyday life,” he told the outlet. After being asked about the answer to the Japanese title of his movie How Do You Live? he responded, “I am making this movie because I do not have the answer.”

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