When Marnie Was There, the final Studio Ghibli film we’re likely to see for a while, will receive an English dub courtesy of distributor GKIDS. Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender’s Game) and John C. Reilly (Chicago, Wreck-It Ralph) lead a cast that also includes Vanessa Williams (Soul Food), Geena Davis (A League of Their Own), Kathy Bates (Misery), Ellen Burstyn (Requiem for a Dream), Catherine O’Hara (Best in Show), Kiernan Shipka (AMC’s Mad Men), Grey Griffin (the voice of Vicky in Cartoon Network’s The Fairly OddParents), Ava Acres (White Bird in a Blizzard), and Raini Rodriguez (Girl in Progress).
When Marnie Was There is based on the novel of the same name by Joan G. Robinson. The film was directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi (The Secret World of Arietty) and released in Japan in June of last year. It premiered in North America last month at the New York International Children’s Festival and will reach select theaters on May 22, though those of us who don’t live in New York or LA will presumably have to wait for an online option.
Prevailing wisdom has always stated that anime is best appreciated by audiences in its native Japan, though the reputation of Studio Ghibli’s work has gotten the attention of talented writers and actors in the U.S.. As a result, its films have consistently received higher quality English vocal tracks, making them more accessible to American audiences. Studio Ghibli is best known in the United States for the films of Hayao Miyazaki (Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away), who announced his retirement in 2013 after the release of The Wind Rises. One year later, general manager Toshio Suzuki announced that Studio Ghibli will undergo restructuring to determine if and how the studio will continue.