Production I.G> WORK LIST> The Sky Crawlers> SPECIAL FEATURE> Interview with Chihiro Ito (1)

Interview with Chihiro Ito (1)

Chihiro Ito
Born in 1982, Ito started working in movie production in 2000, as staff in the art department. A pivotal event in her career was when she met film director Isao Yukisada. He suggested to her that she write a screenplay for Seventh Anniversary (2003) which became Ito's professional screenplay debut. The following year, she wrote the screenplay for Crying Out Love, in the Center of the World (2004) with Yukisada and Yuji Sakamoto. The movie was a phenomenal success which brought her under the spotlight. Since then she writes for movies constantly such as, Spring Snow (2005, adapted from the novel by Yukio Mishima), The World According to Chocolat (2006), Into the Faraway Sky (2007), and Closed Diary (2007), all directed by Yukisada. While her screenwriting career has taken off, she still works in the art department. The Sky Crawlers is her first challenge in an animated feature.

part 1

Can you share with us how you came to write for The Sky Crawlers?
I think it was around November 2005. I received a letter from Producer Tomohiko Ishii. In the letter he said that Mamoru Oshii saw Spring Snow for which I wrote the screenplay, and that he wanted to meet me. He also mentioned that Oshii's new movie would be about love and it had something to do with what I tried to achieve in Spring Snow. It was quite a surprise to find a passage in the letter asking me to write for Oshii's new movie. Before long, MORI Hiroshi's The Sky Crawlers novels were delivered. I read them all and I was drawn into the fascinating world of the never ageing Kildren the world they live in. That led to the first meeting with the director at a ryokan in Tokyo called Wakana.

Which Oshii movies have you seen and how did you like them?
I don't usually watch animation but many people around me talked highly of Oshii's Urusei Yatsura 2: Beautiful Dreamer and Innocence, so I decided to watch these two first. I was very fascinated by the intricate and romantic world he created. These movies have incredibly memorable images, like no oter. I was also attracted to the characters and the indefinable melancholy that seems to dwell somewhere in their heart.

What was your initial reaction to the suggestion of writing for Mamoru Oshii and it being an animated feature?
I had never written for an animated movie before, so I was a bit anxious, as I understood that it was a big project. But the director told me to write as I would usually do for a live action movie, so I began to see it as a challenge that would expand my boundaries.

Did your impression of Mamoru Oshii change after you met him in person?
People told me that he was like a university professor. The impression I had of him from his movies was that he was someone of incomprehensible philosophy, so I was nervous about communicating with him. But I changed my impression when I met him. He was soft-spoken and easy to understand. In contrast to his reputation, he is a very charming man.

How do you describe Mamoru Oshii?
He's a boy with a philosophical mind. I love the gleam in his eyes when he laughs.

(1 - to be continued)