EXCLUSIVE: Chloe Grace Moretz will voice the title character in The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya, the latest animated pic from Studio Ghibli, the company co-founded by Japan animation icons Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Darren Criss, Lucy Liu, Beau Bridges, James Marsden, Oliver Platt and Dean Cain also have signed up for the film, which GKIDS acquired in March to release in the U.S. The indie distributor, which has four Best Animated Feature nominations since 2010, has set an October 17 release date timed to maximize awards-season play.
Takahata (Grave Of The Fireflies) directed Kaguya in his helming effort in in 14 years, and the pic based on the an ancient Japanese folk story the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter played strong in Japan when it was released there in November . The plot: Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo, a tiny girl grows into an exquisite young lady, raised by an old bamboo cutter and his wife. From the countryside to the grand capital city, even unseen she enthralls all who encounter her, including five noble suitors. Ultimately however she must face her secret fate.
Studio Ghibli and Geoffrey Wexler are producing the English-language version of the pic with Frank Marshall of Kennedy/Marshall executive producing. They are the same team to do English-language versions of last year’s Oscar-nominated The Wind Rises from Miyazaki and From Up On Poppy Hill, another GKIDS-Ghibli tie-up in their partnership that includes Ghibli titles Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke.
GKIDS has become a regular in the Oscar Animated Feature race, most recently backing last year’s nom Ernest & Celestine and notching two noms in the category in 2012 with A Cat In Paris and Chico & Rita.