Old interview: Director Akira Kurosawa once offended Hayao Miyazaki for suggesting he direct live-action
Akira Kurosawa is Japan’s most legendary director, and is idolized by not just Japanese directors, but Hollywood directors as well. In fact, Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai is considered a classic by even those in Hollywood and they hold the director in such a high regard. Another person who idolizes Kurosawa is of course, Academy Award-winning anime director, Hayao Miyazaki. In fact, when he first met Kurosawa in a meeting of Japanese movie titans, the My Neighbor Totoro director said he felt nervous. However, in that same meeting, it would seem that the elder legend would manage to offend his younger counterpart a bit.
Sora News 24 managed to find an old book that contained an interview featuring Miyazaki talking about the incident. The anime director first talked about his feelings to the interviewer on meeting the legendary Seven Samurai director:
“Kurosawa is a director with an era unto himself, and I had to show him the proper respect. Because of that, I expected to feel nervous while talking to him, and during our conversation I was every bit as nervous as I’d imagined.
Really, it felt like it does when I’m talking to my-father-in-law. My hair has already turned white, and in my workplace I’m an old geezer, but in front of Kurosawa, it was like I was a little kid, and what can a kid do? (laughs) So in the end, I listened…I think he could tell I was nervous, and he was kind enough to try to help me relax.”
And from what it seems, Kurosawa is a fan of My Neighbor Totoro, especially Catbus:
Kurosawa: “I’ve seen all of your films. Well, except for Porco Rosso [at the time Miyazaki’s newest anime].”
Miyazaki: “Please, don’t watch it. It would be embarrassing for me…(laughs).”
Kurosawa: “I especially liked that bus in My Neighbor Totoro. It was interesting.”
Miyazaki: “Ah, thank you…”
But it seems that even with all of that reverence, the elder director did manage to offend the opinionated Miyazaki a bit. He suggested that the Ghibli director do live-action movies as well. Let’s just say that old Hayao wasn’t such a big fan of that idea…
Interviewer: “This is something I heard from Kurosawa on a separate occasion, but he said‘I want Miyazaki to make a live-action film.’”
Miyazaki: “I don’t know if he’s serious or just being diplomatic, but if he actually said that, I think it’s rude of him. That’s as unconnected to reality as if I were to say ‘I want Kurosawa to direct animation.’ They’re different genres. And if he’s saying that because he thinks that live-action is comparatively a higher artform than animation, I’d like to formally state that I object.”
Well, that’s Miyazaki for you! However, he still holds Kurosawa in such a high regard, even with that incident. He’s still very respectful, he just does not like the idea of him doing live-action.
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Source: Sora News 24