Last night I went to the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater to watch John Lasseter interview Hayao Miyazaki. I took my family as we are all huge fans (of both men). Miyazaki was charming. And my daughter got to see a real living legend and hero. Great night.
The night began with the original Japanese trailers for Miyazaki's movies. Then John Lasseter introduced some clips, followed by discussion with Miyazaki - more clips, more discussion. Lasseter's introductions and highlight choices really showcased the art of Mayazaki's work - he certainly honored him. Miyazaki, of course, was humble.
Lasseter and Miyazaki have known each other for many years and been dear friends since Toy Story 2 and Miyazaki working on Spirited Away (which he won an Oscar for). Lasseter does not speak Japanese and Miyazaki speaks no English but they both speak the language of animation with a passion.
Lasseter spoke eloquently on hand-drawn animation (which hints at future projects at Disney). Miyazaki said he tried some computer animation in his films but gave it up as too time-consuming (which we are all thankful for - leave that to those who have mastered it, Miyazaki is master of the hand-drawn). He also talked about how every character reflects someone he knows and the friends he makes his movies for.
One funny thing was when he was asked about his hobby after mentioning he had one. He asked, "I don't have to talk about that, do I?" He rubbed his forehead and admitted that he draws manga for a model airplane magazine. He's a big model airplane buff. To come here to the U.S. he asked for a month off from the magazine. Funny to think of Miyazaki asking for time off from a small magazine considering the world-impacting accomplishments he's responsible for.
Thank you Miyazaki-san for your grace and generosity of the evening and for all you have done in the art of animation. And thank you John Lasseter for hosting so well and that you, too, have done in the art of animation.