When North American distrib Disney opens the film Nov. 8-14 in New York and L.A. for an Oscar-qualifying run, it will be the subtitled version. But when the film bows in a limited release Feb. 21, before expanding, audiences will have the chance to see either a dubbed or subtitled version.
Wexler, chief of the international division at Studio Ghibli in Tokyo, admitted that many Miyazaki fans want to see it in the original form, but the visuals are so important, some people want to watch the images, not read. So he urged: “Purists, just give it a chance.”
Wexler spoke at the Toronto Film Festival’s official screening of the film at the Elgin Theater. Before the screening began, the audience was told Miyazaki would not be in attendance, which inspired a big collective groan. That was evidently more in disappointment than surprise.
When asked by an audience member if this is truly the Japanese animator’s final film, Wexler said, “I can only tell you what he told us… that this is his last film.”
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He also warmed up to a question about the film’s sound, saying that the sound designer (who is not a sound-effects person) voiced the sounds of trains and planes in the film. Wexler then did a very respectable imitation of the chugging and whirring noises that the sound designer created.