Legendary Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle) is cashing in his chips, headed for retirement. His final feature film, The Wind Rises, is getting an American makeover, putting in big name actors to voice the roles, such as....
* JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT (The Dark Knight Rises, Inception) lends his voice to Jiro Horikoshi, who harbors strong ambitions to create his own beautiful airplane. A bubbling mix of wild excitement, extreme focus, individualism, pride, realism and idealism, Jiro also has a cool and brilliant mind and is recognized for his talent.
* EMILY BLUNT (Gulliver's Travels, Gnomeo & Juliet) voices Nahoko Satomi, a beautiful and cheerful girl who is a passenger on the same train as Jiro on the day of a natural disaster. Ten years later, they reunite.
* DARREN CRISS ("Glee") lends his voice to Katayama, a jovial junior engineering colleague of Jiro.
* JOHN KRASINSKI ("The Office,"Big Miracle) provides the voice of Honjo, Jiro's college friend and fellow aviation engineer.
* MAE WHITMAN ("Parenthood," the voice of Tinkerbell) was called on to voice Kayo Horikoshi, Jiro's younger sister, who adores him. Whitman also voices Kinu, Nahoko's caretaker.
* STANLEY TUCCI (The Hunger Games films) provides the voice of Caproni, an airplane creator known worldwide from the dawn of Italian aviation through the 1930s, who appears in Jiro's dreams to stir up, advise and voice Jiro's thoughts and emotions.
* ELIJAH WOOD ("Wilfred," Frodo inThe Lord of the Rings movies) voices Sone, a studious engineering colleague of Jiro.
* MARTIN SHORT (The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause, Frankenweenie) was tapped to portray Kurokawa, Jiro's grumpy boss.
* MANDY PATINKIN (The Princess Bride) lends his voice to Hattori, the senior designer at Mitsubishi.
* WERNER HERZOG (Jack Reacher, filmmaker "Grizzly Man") voices Castorp, a mysterious visitor to Japan who encounters Jiro at a mountain resort.
* WILLIAM H. MACY (Wild Hogs, "Curious George") steps into the role of Satomi, Nahoko's father.
* JENNIFER GREY (Dirty Dancing, The Cotton Club, Ferris Bueller's Day Off) provides the voice of Mrs. Kurokawa.
* RONAN FARROW (From Up on Poppy Hill) is the voice of the Mitsubishi Employee.
Also featured in the English-language version of The Wind Rises are:
Zach Callison ("Sofia the First," Mr. Peabody and Sherman)), who voices young Jiro;
Eva Bella (Young Elsa in Frozen), who lends her voice to young Kayo;
Madeleine Rose Yen (Broadway's "War Horse"), who provides the voice of young Nahoko;
Edie Mirman (Epic) as the voice of Jiro's mother; and
David Cowgill ("Greaser Ghost" in ParaNorman) as the voice of the flight engineer.
From Studio Ghibli, "The Wind Rises" is slated for limited release in North American theaters on Feb. 21, 2014, and expanded release on Feb. 28, 2014.
It seems like the casting all stems from Emily Blunt: she starred with Joseph Gordon Levitt on Looper, is married to John Krasinski and Stanley Tucci is married to Blunt's sister (plus they worked together on The Devil Wears Prada)...so The Wind Rises is keeping it in the family...the Blunt family!