Spirited Away Star Reveals Hayao Miyazaki's View on Yubaba

Studio Ghibli is keeping its head down these days as work on Hayao Miyazaki works on his new film. As you can imagine, fans are eager to see how the film turns out, but there is more to be excited about. Spirited Away is set to make a comeback with a stage play, and a recent press conference shared some behind-the-scenes info on the original film.

If you did not know, Spirited Away remains one of Studio Ghibli's best-performing films. Back in the day, Mari Natsuki was brought in to voice Yubaba. Now, the actress is revisiting the role in live-action as one of the play's alternates for Yubaba. During the press event, the actress went on to talk about his original world with the witch, and it turns out Miyazaki doesn't see the old lady as a villain at all.

"When I voiced for the original film, I thought the role was a villain and I was prepared to act accordingly. But director [Hayao] Miyazaki said 'Yubaba is putting all her efforts to protect the bathhouse. She is not a villain.' It felt very emotional. I never thought that I would be playing the same role on stage two decades later," Natsuki shared.

Continuing, the actress went on to discuss her plans for this new gig, and Natsuki hopes she can bring Yubaba's over-the-top personality to life. "Just like Kanna, I would like to play like a debutante and enjoy this stage version as a completely new one."

Clearly, Natsuki has had time to reflect on Spirited Away and her time as Yubaba. And for fans, it is interesting to hear how Miyazaki sees the character. While Yubaba certainly messes with Chihiro in the story, Miyazaki sees Yubaba as a neutral party who is dedicated to her job. So while some may view the old lady as a villain, Miyazaki isn't sure he would go so far as to label her that.

What do you think about Spirited Away's stage play plans? Will you try to check out the performance...? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.