After threatening to retire more than once, celebrated Japanese filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki is back in the director’s chair for a new film titled Gake no ue no Ponyo (Ponyo on a Cliff). The hand-drawn feature will reportedly have a pastel, watercolor look and will be released in Japan by Toho in the summer of 2008. Disney, which distributes Miyazaki’s films in the U.S., will likely release the pic in the states.
Written by Miyazaki, the film’s story takes place mostly at sea and revolves around a five-year-old boy named Sosuke, who encounters an enchanted character named Ponyo, a goldfish princess who wants to become human. The Sosuke character is based on the director’s own grandson and one of the themes explored in the story is the closeness between a parent and child. According to Studio Ghibli news site www.nausicaa.net, Miyazaki has been reflecting on his relationship with his own son, filmmaker Goro Miyazaki (Tales of Earthsea), with whom he feels he didn’t spend enough time.