Out of all the TV shows, video games, and anime you’ve worked on, Your Name is probably the most famous one. What are your thoughts on voicing one of the main characters from such a globally acclaimed film, especially now that it’s beaten Spirited Away in terms of highest grossing anime film ever?
I think Shinkai wanted to do something at a time when we needed something. I think there’s hope in it, there’s love, there’s so many feels! Don’t get choked up, don’t get choked up. I’m not just boring, I’m also a pansy [wipes away tear]. I’m gonna cry right now. I’m very proud that I was able to be any part of that film, and I wasn’t even supposed to be in it.
We didn’t want to audition ourselves for it, and it only happened after a round of auditions where there were certain things we were looking for, and we were like, “Let me just hear you do it, let me just hear you do it,” and then privately and independently we were like, “Oh my gosh, I think I want you to do that role,” which worked out really well because Steph [Sheh] and I have a connection, we’re really close, we’ve known each other for a very long time. We both direct, we both act, so we told Shinkai this. We met him at the Academy screening. We were able to direct each other being us. I could direct her being me and she could direct me being her, and he was like, “Oh, it’s perfect. It’s perfect.”
There’s so many things about that that I used to think it was just fortunate or lucky, and I fell into it or something, but there’s just been too many things that are so coincidental and served it that I now have to believe in something else; some kind of fate or something because now, I even know the writer who’s adapting the live action film from before. Like, that’s super random. I don’t know that many Hollywood writers, and this guy just Oscar-nominated for adapting The Arrival. He’s great at adapting, he’s one of us; he’s a nerd, he’s sensitive, he’s brilliant. I think when people are like, “I don’t know about this live action version,” and I’m like, oh, I do. I have ultimate faith in it and I don’t know who’s directing it or how it’s going to be produced, but it’s going to be written great, and that’s where it all begins. I’m just glad that more people will be drawn to this extraordinary movie.
I was on a plane home from South Korea when I watched it for the first time. I didn’t know much about it, and when I saw it, the more the movie progressed, the more I started sitting up in my seat and I’m sure the guy next to me thought I was crazy cause I’m sitting there like, “Ah, AH, AHHHH.”
It’s wonderful cause I feel like it’s three movies. You know, and it starts off like, ba bada ba ba ba ba, honk honk, and then you’re like, “Oh, wait a minute, it got serious. They’re like, wait, no!” It’s great. I’m glad I can kind of talk about it more now cause I just don’t want to spoil anything. If you’ve never seen it, don’t ask anything, just go watch it. Just go watch it. It’s just a couple hours. It’s fine. It’s better if you know nothing going in.
Speaking of honk honk, what would you personally do if you were the one to wake up in a woman’s body?
I would like to say that I would do something different, but I think I would just… look, the way that he does it, he ends up being a perv, but he does it initially just to go like, “Huh? What’s this?” and he’s like, “Oh, so realistic feeling.” It’s just exploring. Where am I? That’s all it is. So I would also explore where am I, and then I would eat everything I’m not allowed to eat. Sorry whatever girl’s body I just jumped into. You’re going to eat a lot of sugar and have diabetes, and, yeah. I would also probably suspect that I have other weird powers or something, and hopefully not jump off a building or try to web or try to fly, but I would probably do something that would get me hurt, and test like, am I more athletic? Can I balance better? Can I jump higher? Can I do handstands. Yeah, I would probably get a lot of bruises.
Thank you, once again, to Anime NYC and Michael Sinterniklaas for letting me sit down for this interview. Stay tuned for additional interviews with Yuffie Bunny and Phil Mizuno on The Overthinkers!