Some prominent figures retire surprisingly early. Others never retire at all. And then there are those who announce their retirement, spend some time in a seemingly permanent retreat from their careers, and then decide retirement really isn’t for them (for now, at least). This latter category includes the likes of Michael Jordan, Jay-Z, Barbra Streisand, Steven Soderbergh, and countless other elites in all spheres of influence.
It also includes Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki, who’s tried and failed to retire on several memorable occasions, dating back to the 1997 release of Princess Mononoke: The celebrated filmmaker claimed at the time that he wouldn’t make another film after that. Fortunately for fans of 2001’s Spirited Away and 2004’s Howl’s Moving Castle, his proclamation didn’t stick.
“This time I am quite serious,” he said in 2013, upon “retiring” after the release of The Wind Also Rises. That didn’t stick, either. A few years later, it was announced that Miyazaki was returning to create yet another new film, titled How Do You Live? Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki said in an interview that Miyazaki’s motivation was to leave behind something for his grandson when he himself “[moved] on to the next world.”
But, as IndieWire reports, Miyazaki’s son Gorō Miyazaki—also a filmmaker—recently revealed that his father just isn’t very good at staying away from the studio for very long. “He needed to create something in order to live, basically,” Gorō Miyazaki told /Film in February 2021. “So he started with making a short film for the [Ghibli] museum, and then he went on to making his new feature-length film.”
According to the younger Miyazaki, his mother used to encourage his father to give up filmmaking so he could relax and “enjoy the rest of [his] life.”
“But recently, she’s come to accept the fact that he cannot stop creating,” he said. “So she’ll be like, ‘OK, if you’d rather create until the end of your life, then go to the studio, go to the office every day.’”
Though we can’t say for sure whether the 80-year-old animator has retired from retirement for good this time, it seems likely that he’ll continue working for at least the next couple of years: How Do You Live? isn’t set to premiere until 2023 at the earliest.