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Ponyo – Liam Neeson and Noah Cyrus talk about the new Studio Ghibli film

Posted by LiveFor on January 27, 2010

Ponyo is the new Studio Ghibli film. It has been out in the US for a while, but it is due out on the 12th February in the UK.

Academy Award winning director Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away”) takes more moviegoers on a magical new adventure that celebrates the power of innocent love and the beauty of the natural world in his latest animated triumph, “PONYO”. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid”, “PONYO” tells the story of a young and overeager goldfish named PONYO and her quest to become human. An enchanting and visually stunning blend of imagination, humour, action, mystery and romance.

It features the voice cast of Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon, Tina Fey, Liam Neeson and Noah Cyrus as Ponyo. Yes Noah is Miley Cyrus’ sister.

Check out the trailer below and interviews with Liam Neeson and Noah Cyrus courtesy of Optimum Releasing.


Here is what Liam had to say about the film.

What do you make of Miyazaki films in general?
He seems to dip into various cultures from around the world. Dips into the myths and fantasies of different countries and then adds something else himself. Some phantasmagorical element that’s purely him, you know.

What is your character like in Ponyo?
I play this character Fujimoto who I guess is the regulator of the oceans. He lives under water but he is capable of coming up on dry land as long as he remains wet. He can’t dry out. And he’s kind of a Merlin type figure. Capable of making magic potions and he kind of addresses and keeps in balance, tries to keep in balance the whole eco system of the ocean. I guess that’s his job. He’s quite a colourful strange character.

What were the rest of the Ponyo cast like?
Noah and Frankie were wonderful as their characters, as Ponyo and the little boy. Cate Blanchett again delivers a lovely, magical, soft soothing voice that’s pretty special.

In your opinion what can the audience of Ponyo expect?
Just to enjoy the story which is quite wonderful and magical. There’s lessons there, there’s something there for everyone. On just an aspect of how to live one’s life and to live each moment and to be curious about life and celebrate it.

Now onto Noah.

So Noah tell us a little bit about Ponyo…
Ponyo is a little fish who has become human after she meets a little boy called Sosuke and Ponyo, well, she thinks about others before she thinks about herself.

Why does Ponyo want to be human?
Well she wants to be just like him, she wants to have feet and she wants to have hands.

What is the story of Ponyo about?
The story is all about saving the world. In the very beginning Ponyo gets stuck in a net when a fishing boat cleans the bottom of the ocean. She’s swimming around and she’s trying to get away from it. And then her heads gets stuck into a bottle and then she finally gets out of that little net thing. She floats to the shore in the bottle and then stops and Sosuke goes to the shallow part and gets her.

Why are Ponyo and Sosuke so close?
It’s really close because they kind of just met each other and then it grows stronger because Ponyo helps him find his mother in the story.

How did you get involved with the film?
I got involved with the film when my mum came in my room and she was just like “you got a part for this little fish named Ponyo and you will also be doing the movie with Frankie Jonas” So I was really excited that I was going to do it with my best friend.

So you knew Frankie before you started working on the film then?
We have known Frankie and his brothers for about three years now and they’re a lot of fun to hang out with.

How did you get involved with the Jonas Brothers in the first place? Were you a fan of their music or did you get to know them through your sister?
We were just friends. We met their mum and we really started to hang out because we were helping them find a place in LA. And they got one like right down the street from us and so we hung out almost every day. We would ride bikes together and it was just a lot of fun.

And what about the rest of the cast on the film, who were you excited about working with?
I was excited working with Frankie Jonas; I was excited to work with Cate Blanchett and Liam Neeson and Matt Damon and Tina Fey and everybody.

It’s a great cast isn’t it?
It was amazing that I got to have such good actors and actresses by me.

And in terms of the actual role itself was it easy or difficult for you to do the acting without being on screen?
Doing Ponyo was kinda hard because I heard Japanese in my headphones and so it was really hard to speak the lines in English. I had to learn, and it was a lot of fun though.

And what about other Studio Ghibli films, have you seen any of them?
I have and Mr Hayao Miyazaki makes amazing films.

What’s your favourite?
I think my favourite movie is Spirited Away.

Are you keen to do more of this sort of thing or are you keen to do more acting where you’re actually on screen? What’s your favourite way of working?
I wanna do acting and singing and I wanna horseback ride as well.

And how about singing, are you going to follow your sister in her footsteps?
Yeah I wanna sing, I wanna sing country, I wanna sing pop and I wanna do both just like my Dad and Miley and brothers and sister.

And does your sister give you a lot of advice?
My sister and my Dad give me lots of advice. My Dad says about acting “if you’re not having fun with it, then it isn’t working out for you”.

But you had fun with Ponyo though yeah?
I had a lot of fun doing Ponyo. It was my first movie and it was a blast!

When you went on tour with your sister, where was your favourite place that you visited?
I liked London a lot and I loved Miami. Miami was a lot of fun, we were right up the beach and my mum and I on the last day we were there went down to the beach and we swam and it was a lot of fun.

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