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[Laputa mainpage]
Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta
(Laputa: The Castle in the Sky)
Joe Hisaishi

Questions submitted to Buena Vista Home Entertainment by Nausicaa.net

TOPIC: General

  • When did you first learn that you would obtain a chance to rescore Castle In The Sky ?
  • What was Hayao Miyazaki's initial reaction to the idea of rescoring the film?
  • How frequently do you get a chance to rescore a movie that you originally scored?
  • What 'baggage' do you take into such a session - and what do you do for new insights?
  • Is the passage of time / advancing maturity / added experience enough to get a new outlook on the film, or do you review the movie, discuss the ideas with the creator, or do other research?
  • In the diary there is a cryptic reference to "avoiding an accident like we had in Italy".  What does that refer to?

TOPIC: English vs. Japanese version of CASTLE

TOPIC: The use of silence vs. music in Studio Ghibli films

  • Do YOU PERSONALLY believe that it is necessary to "fill the gaps" [gaps = silent parts of the original movie] in the soundtrack to Laputa?  Why or why not?
  • I'd like to ask him if the new score will still make such dramatic use of moments of silence.  One of the most powerful aspects of the 'classic' score (to use a STAR TREK fan term here) is that there are moments when music stops and the impact of sudden silence is very dramatic, adding to the emotion of the moment.  It's a feature of all his soundtracks that he can use both sound and silence, and I hope he'll have continued to do so in the 'nextgen' score.

TOPIC: "Americanizing"

  • In the diary on his web site he talks about "Americanizing" the sound of the music.  What does he mean by that and can he give examples of how he has adapted the music to make it "American"?
  • Do you like the work of re-doing your music for an American audience?
  • How do you approach "Americanizing" the music for LAPUTA?
  • Were you given any guidelines by Disney and/or Ghibli?
  • How do you determine when the music sounds too Japanese or too American?  How do you differentiate the two?
  • What input if any did he have on the re-scoring of KIKI and did he like how it came out?
  • What is your opinion on the way some of the music was altered in the dub of MAJO NO TAKYUUBIN (KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE)?
  • Hypothetical question: if Miramax asked you to rescore the soundtrack of PRINCESS MONONOKE specifically for the American market, what changes would you make in this 2-year-old score?
  • If Buena Vista asked you to rescore CASTLE IN THE SKY for the French, German, Italian, and/or Spanish markets, what changes would you make in those versions?  Will the Italian version sound too much like PORCO ROSSO [KURENAI NO BUTA]? ^_^
  • During the past decade, has the popularity of Hollywood films in Japan affected the way the soundtracks of Japanese domestic films are scored?

TOPIC: Release information

  • Does he have any idea when BVHE plans to release LAPUTA and if so is a theatrical release in the cards?
  • Is he aware of any plans by Disney/BVHE to release any of his Ghibli soundtrack albums domestically (i.e. KIKI, LAPUTA, MONONOKE HIME).  In other words, will any of his Ghibli soundtracks be sold in North America?

TOPIC: Other Studio Ghibli films

  • Did he have to do any tweaking to the MONONOKE HIME score for the soon-to-be-released US dubbed version?
  • Does *he* know who is singing the English version of MONONOKE HIME and could he tell us?
  • Are there currently any plans to rescore NAUSICAA OF THE VALLEY OF WIND ?
  • When will work start on the English release of NAUSICAA?
  • Would you be willing to oversee the music direction in the other Ghibli films that will be released in America in the future?
  • Do you plan doing any more future soundtracks for Studio Ghibli?

TOPIC: Other films

  • Do you plan to score any non-Japanese movies?
  • Do you have any plans to score music for Hollywood films?
  • What kind/genres of films do you like to work on?
  • Besides Miyazaki and Kitano, which other directors in Japan do you like to work with the most?  How about American directors?
  • What are the differences between working with Kitano (on HANA-BI) and Miyazaki?
  • Which US filmmaker (if any) would you like to compose music for, and if so, why?
  • Is there any difference between scoring a live-action film and a feature-length animation?

TOPIC: About the production of the English version of CASTLE

  • Have you met Mark Hamill or any of the other English voice actors before?
  • What is your opinion of the English voice acting for LAPUTA?
  • Will Laputa be recorded for THX, SDDS, or some other sound system?

TOPIC: About Hisaishi-san

  • When and where was he born?
  • Who inspires you musically?
  • Which US soundtrack composers (Goldsmith, Horner, etc.) does he listen to and/or like/admire/etc. ?
  • Do you have any favourite film or soundtrack among the Miyazaki canon?
  • Do you have any overall favourite film or soundtrack among your works?
  • Who are your [role-] models?
  • And this is not about LAPUTA, but if there is time to ask: Is it true that you are going to direct a movie?
  • How did Takahata discover Hisaishi, and what is his interest in continuing to be the main composer for Miyazaki's films?
  • Are you hoping more people know who you are worldwide with Disney now promoting the films in which you scored? [In other words: do you hope to become more popular outside of Japan?]
  • Is it good to know that your work and Miyazaki's stories appeal so strongly outside of Japan?

TOPIC: Work style

  • How do you work with Miyazaki when you score a film?  Does he just give you a general idea for the film ("it's going to be about a 13 year old witch who moves to a new town and has to live on her own") and then you go off and write sample music to see if he likes any of the pieces?  Or does he sit down with a very detailed storyboard and go over it with you saying detailed things like "and I want a short, light piece of music here for this scene that will express Kiki's embarrassment..."?

TOPIC: Visit to Seattle

  • Are you enjoying your visit to Seattle (if the interview will be in Seattle) / to the United States (if the interview will not be in Seattle)?
  • How good is the working relationship between you and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra?
  • How does the Seattle Symphony Orchestra compare to other orchestras you have worked with?
  • What is your deadline for recording the new soundtrack?
  • Would you permit fans to observe the recording sessions?
  • Would you have any time or interest in meeting your fans in the Seattle area?
  • Is there anything in particular you are looking forward to in Seattle?
  • Do you have plans to visit Seattle (or other cities in North America) again in the near future?

TOPIC: Exposure to overseas fandom

  • Are you aware of the fan web site Nausicaa.net?
  • Are you or anyone else connected with Studio Ghibli interested in being in closer contact with fans, especially to help promote your works to audiences outside of Japan?
  • Do you have any comments for your fans about your work on the new soundtrack for LAPUTA?

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