As a child, I dreamed of becoming a director. I would write out my career, detailing the movies I would make, the awards they would win, and even how much money they would earn. But most of all, I loved casting the roles in the films. I would get just the perfect actors and actresses for each film. What I realize now is that instead of being a film director, what I was really interested in becoming was a casting director.
Since we’re in the age both of adapting animated movies into film (thanks, Disney?) and of bringing anime to live action, I propose an exercise: Let’s cast a Ghibli film! Of all the Studio Ghibli classics, two come across to me as having a good chance at becoming wonderful films themselves—Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and Porco Rosso. And while the latter has live-action sensibilities, I’m afraid I’m just not familiar enough with European actors to effectively offer suggestions for many of the roles for that one. We’ll go with Nausicaa, which not only screams “sci-fantasy epic,” but features meaty roles that could be modified for a PG-13 audience. It also holds a real world fascination for so many, demonstrated by the development of a functional glider like Nausicaa’s and a recent live-action trailer.
Here are my suggestions—let me know if I got it just right or missed it entirely, and if the latter, who you’d select instead!
[NAUSICAA] [GENDER: FEMALE] [AGE: 17-22 to LOOK 18] Strong-willed and free-spirited, Nausicaa is adventurous and though a princess, is more of a tomboy. She is typically measured and compassionate but can display a fiery temper. Physical role. MUST NOT BE SCARED OF HEIGHTS. Average height (5’5″ to 5’9″). Athletic build. Any ethnicity.
Selection: Sophia Lillis (It, Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase)
One of the brightest young stars in the industry, Sophia has demonstrated both qualities necessary to play a live-action Nausicaa: a youthful exuberance and a maturity beyond her years, the latter coming with an edge that we saw out of Lillis in It. A question here is the action-hero side to Nausicaa—other possible actresses have action-roles on their resume, while Lillis only has a bit from the first chapter of It, but more important are the character qualities she carries. Oh, and the red hair is a nice touch.