The English-language release of director Hiromasa Yonchayashi’s “The Secret World of Arrietty” is slated for release to domestic movie theatres on Feb. 17. To promote the film’s messages, Walt Disney Pictures released interviews with Bridgit Mendler, Amy Poehler and Carol Burnett, some of movie’s U.S. voice actors.
Arrietty (voiced by Mendler, “Good Luck Charlie”) is an independent-minded 14-year-old “borrower” who lives with her parents (voiced by Poehler and real-life husband Will Arnett) in the corners of a garden home. They remain hidden from the humans who share their environment and, unknowingly, their extras and scraps.
Things change when 12-year-old Shawn (voiced by David Henrie) discovers Arrietty. A secret friendship between the two develops, one that might put Arrietty and her family in danger if their existence is discovered.
In a Walt Disney Pictures press junket with Mendler, Poehler, and Carol Burnett (who voices Hara, the human housekeeper) all responded to questions about the movie’s messages for children.
Watch Amy Poehler and Carol Burnett’s joint interview or see “Secret World” movie stills and children’s coloring pages.
For Burnett, the message found in “Secret World” is simple:
“The one word that I come away with is ‘tolerance’ – for all kinds of people.”
Mendler’s responses echoes Burnett’s, with her mentions of acceptance and perspective, but also address the importance of support from family and friends.
“I think there are a couple of messages. One of them being: accepting people that are different from you, being able to form those really great friendships, and being able to be rely on one another,” Mendler said in the Disney interview. “The importance of family is another thing – they were really able to be there for another as a family. And also, it’s neat to be able to step outside of your perspective and see the world as magnificent as it is.”
Upon being prompted about the film’s relationship to nature as part of its message, Poehler added in her joint interview with Burnett:
“Ghibli films do a lot of really beautiful expressions of nature and the earth. They’re very environmentally conscious and positive. You can kind of tell in this film the idea of protecting the planet, which is certainly a global idea.”
Miyazaki co-wrote “Secret World” based upon Mary Norton’s 1952 children’s novel, “The Borrowers.” Like that book, the movie offers a fantastical world in which little people live undetected by the humans from whom they “borrow” objects. In Yonchayashi’s version, however, Norton’s setting has been changed to a contemporary Tokyo suburb.
The U.S. version of “Secret World” was directed by Gary Rydstrom (Pixar’s “Hawaiian Vacation” short) and executive produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. Karey Kilpatrick wrote the English-language screenplay (“Spiderwick Chronicles”).
Pittsburgh movie-goers can see “The Secret World of Arrietty” when it opens Feb. 17 2012.
The movie will play at the AMC Loews Waterfront 22, SouthSide Works Cinemaand Waterworks Cinema 10. Look for locations and movie tickets available for online purchase at Fandango.
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