Live-Action 'Spirited Away' Reboot Heading to Theaters in 2024 (2024)

Spirited Away (2003) is a beloved Japanese animated classic from Studio Ghibli, written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

The film received widespread critical acclaim upon its release and won numerous awards. Over the years, it has become a landmark film in Japanese animation and is widely considered, alongside My Neighbor Totoro (1990) and Howl’s Moving Castle (2005), to be one of the figurehead titles within Studio Ghibli’s vast collection of films.

It’s these films’ broad appeal that sets them apart from Disney’s animated classics, as well as the fact that they’re yet to be given the live-action treatment, which, as Disney has proven time and time again, is a transition that tends to dilute the magic drastically.

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The idea of seeing a flawless film like Spirited Away given the live-action treatment wouldn’t sit well with fans. Hayao Miyazaki’s timeless classic proves that there’s an unspoken magic within animation that can’t be replicated in a live-action film or TV series.

However, that’s not entirely true, as there is already a “live-action” adaptation of Spirited Away in existence — and no, we aren’t talking about the themed land, Ghibli Park, in Aichi, Japan.

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Even Spirited Away‘s most loyal fans don’t know that there’s a stage adaptation of the film, which premiered in Tokyo, Japan, on February 28, 2022. Now, per, Spirited Away (2022) is heading to London’s West End.

The play is written and directed by John Caird, with puppet director Toby Olié providing the story’s otherworldly characters. So far, Chihiro has been played by Kanna Hashimoto and Mone Kamishiraishi in the production, both of whom will be heading over to the UK to perform.

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Director John Caird said in a statement, “I am proud and delighted to present the original Japanese stage production of Spirited Away at the Coliseum Theatre next year. We had a wonderful time creating the show in 2022 and I’m so happy now to be spiriting away a British audience into Hayao Miyazaki’s magical world. A world of gods and frogs, dragons and sorcerers, giant-sized babies and bouncing heads, spider-armed boilermen, no-faced loners and a young girl’s valiant quest for courage, identity and love.”

Toshio Suzuki, Producer of Studio Ghibli, added: “The day we first met John Caird, Hayao Miyazaki and I thought he was the perfect director for the production — that was the beginning of this project. It was thanks to the hard work of John, the cast, and all those involved that the premiere production received such high acclaim. I wish to express my deepest respect to all involved in the creation of this monumental piece of theatre. I really look forward to Spirited Away being enjoyed by audiences in London.”

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Puppeteer Toby Olié took to X (formerly known as Twitter) to share the exciting news:

Exciting NewsOur stage adaptation of #SpiritedAway is coming to the UK! After premiering in Japan in 2022, the show will have a limited run@LondonColiseum from April 2024.

🚨Exciting News🚨
Our stage adaptation of #SpiritedAway is coming to the UK!
After premiering in Japan in 2022, the show will have a limited run @LondonColiseum from April 2024.
Visit for updates.#千と千尋の神隠し #sentochihironokamikakushi

— Toby Olié (@TobyOlie) August 2, 2023

What else do we know about the play?

What is Spirited Away about?

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Spirited Away follows a young girl named Chihiro (Daveigh Chase in the English dubbed version), who, while moving to a new neighborhood with her parents, inadvertently enters the world of kami (spirits of Japanese Shinto folklore), where a witch, who rules over the realm, forces her to take a job in the spirits’ bathhouse so that she can earn her freedom and her parents’ freedom too.

The play follows the same story as the animated film, with a number of differences here and there.

As per the official Studio Ghibli website, here’s the synopsis for Spirited Away:

Chihiro thinks she is on another boring trip with her parents. But when they stop at a village that is not all that it seems, her parents undergo a mysterious transformation, and Chihiro is whisked into a world of fantastic spirits, shape-shifting dragons and a witch who never wants to see her leave.

She must call on the courage she never knew she had to free herself and return her family to the outside world.

The second biggest box office hit of all time in Japan, Spirited Away helped redefine the possibilities of animation for Western audiences and a generation of new filmmakers.

Combining Japanese mythology with Alice in Wonderland-type whimsy, Spirited Away cemented Miyazaki’s reputation as an icon of animation and storytelling.

Related: Four Disney Films Named Best Movies of the 21st Century

Is Spirited Away a musical?

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Whether we’re talking about the film or the stage production, Spirited Away is not a musical. The stage production does, however, feature a live orchestra, which brings to life the film’s mesmerizing score by Joe Hisaishi.

Related: Government Responds to “Sexual Crimes” at Disney’s Rival Theme Park

When is Spirited Away out in theaters?

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Spirited Away arrives at the London Coliseum for a “strictly limited season” between April and July, 2024. For specific dates and showings, check out the official website.

Related: Studio Ghibli Legend Comes Out of Retirement For New Movie

Is there a trailer?

You’ll be pleased to know that there is a trailer for the Spirited Away stage production. Check it out below:

Related:Ghibli Does Grogu: Studio Teases ‘Star Wars’ Crossover

Spirited Away arrives at the London Coliseum between April and July, 2024. For more information, check out the official website here.

Have you seen Spirited Away? Will you be watching the stage version? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

Live-Action 'Spirited Away' Reboot Heading to Theaters in 2024 (2024)


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