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Legend of Zelda movie director wants it to be like a “live-action Miyazaki”

Wes Ball, the director of Nintendo’s upcoming The Legend of Zelda movie, has discussed some of his ambitions for the project, saying he “would love to see a live-action Miyazaki” – a reference to legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, whose animated work includes Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

Ball, who has previously helmed the three Maze Runner films and is currently working on next year’s King of the Planet of the Apes, was announced as the director of Nintendo’s live-action The Legend of Zelda movie last month, as part of the project’s official unveiling.

And now, speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Ball has shared a little of his vision for the Zelda film, describing it as “this awesome fantasy-adventure movie that isn’t like Lord of the Rings, it’s its own thing. I’ve always said, I would love to see a live-action Miyazaki. That wonder and whimsy that he brings to things, I would love to see something like that.”

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Eurogamer’s Newscast team discusses who should star in the Zelda movie (apart from Timothée Chalamet).Watch on YouTube

Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto noted the film adaptation would “take time until its completion” when announcing the project last month, and it may be even further out than some had imagined, with Ball noting a script hasn’t even been finalised yet.

“We’re working on the script, and whether it’s the next [movie I make] or not, it’s hard to say exactly,” he explained. “But certainly the plan is, after Apes is done, to have a little bit of a rest for a moment, and then dive into [Zelda] and hopefully give fans what they’re hoping for, and also invite new people in. I think Nintendo’s desire is to introduce people to this world that’s been around for 40 years now.”

“It’s going to be awesome,” Ball continued. “My whole life has led up to this moment. I grew up on Zelda and it is the most important property, I think, that’s untapped IP, if you will. So we very much are working hard to do something. We’re not just trying to do it because we can. We want to make something really special.”

Miyamoto himself previously acknowledged Nintendo faces an “extremely high hurdle in producing a film that will not disappoint the global fan base”, revealing he’d already been in talks with the movie’s producer, Avi Arad, for ten years prior to last month’s official announcement in bid to create a movie that would live up to the game series’ legacy.

Ball isn’t the first to dream of The Legend of Zelda through a Miyazaki lens, of course; shortly after the project’s unveiling, as fans discussed whether an animated movie might be a better fit for the games’ atmosphere and tone, YouTuber RwanLink shared footage of Castle Town from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time reimagined as a setting in a Studio Ghibli film.

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