Hayao Miyazaki’s ‘The Boy and the Heron’ Adds Christian Bale, Florence Pugh, Mark Hamill & More To English Voice Cast

The Boy and the Heron is Hayao Miyazaki’s first animated feature in 10 years, so it’s only apt that things will kick off with a bang — on the dubbing front, at least. The movie is set to feature a star-studded English voice cast comprising Christian Bale, Florence Pugh, and Mark Hamill, and that’s just to start.

The Boy and the Heron English Voice Cast

Here’s the full cast list, as announced by GKIDS, the North American distributor of animation group Studio Ghibli:

  • Christian Bale – Shoichi Maki
  • Dave Bautista – The Parakeet King
  • Gemma Chan – Natsuko
  • Willem Dafoe – Noble Pelican
  • Karen Fukuhara – Lady Himi
  • Mark Hamill – Granduncle
  • Robert Pattinson – The Gray Heron
  • Florence Pugh – Kiriko

The above actors are joined by Luca Padovan as protagonist and Shoichi’s son Mahito Maki, alongside Mamoudou Athie, Tony Revolri, and Dan Stevens as the Parakeets. Most of them have some sort of voice acting experience, allaying concerns about how live acting capabilities might not always translate well to the animated voice medium. While Bale and Pugh starred in Howl’s Moving Castle and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish respectively, Hamill is easily the most prolific of the lot, having lent his voice to the ever-iconic Joker in Batman: The Animated Series.

Written and directed by Miyazaki, The Boy and The Heron follows Mahito Maki, who begins spotting a heron as he makes his way to his aunt Natsuko’s remote country house in the wake of his mother’s death. The 12-year-old follows the bird into a tunnel, only to end up at a grand hall, where he sees an illusion of his mother. Along with the heron, Mahito enters and explores an imaginative wonderland, described to be “a world shared by the living and dead”.

The film features a musical score from longtime Studio Ghibli composer Joe Hisaishi, and dropped its first trailer last month after a secretive Japanese release that saw no prior promotional efforts. Soma Santoki plays Mahito in the Japanese version, joining Masaki Suda as Grey Heron, and Takuya Kimura, Aimyon, Kô Shibasaki, Yoshino Kimura, Shôhei Hino, and Jun Kunimura in other roles.

The Boy and The Heron will open in the U.S. later this year, with no word on a Singapore release just yet. It was originally touted as Miyazaki’s last film, but the old master isn’t quite done with the craft, for he’s already reportedly working on his next movie — which studio co-found Toshio Suzuki saw coming from a mile away.