Quentin Tarantino almost wrote the English dub for Princess Mononoke. The director’s most recent film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, hit theaters last month.
Princess Mononoke is a Studio Ghibli film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It centers on an exiled prince struggling to maintain peace between animals and humans. Although the dark and beautiful film was a departure from Miyazaki’s previous work, it was a hit both commercially and critically upon its release in 1997. Miyazaki has crafted many incredible movies over the course of this long career, but for many fans, Princess Mononoke remains the best. The English dub featured the vocal talents of Claire Danes, Billy Crudup, Gillian Anderson and more. Famously, the film’s producer sent a katana to Harvey Weinstein, then head of Miramax, with the words “No cuts” etched into the blade.
Recently, Neil Gaiman confirmed on Twitter that the writing duties for the English version of the film were originally offered to Tarantino. Many fans of the author know that Gaiman was the one who actually penned the script, though his name did not appear on the film’s poster. Gaiman explained that he was removed because Studio Ghibli wanted some Miramax executives taken off the poster and that those same executives viewed his name as the one that was “contractually expendable.” The author also responded to a fan’s inquiry regarding him getting the job because of Tarantino. Apparently, the director was approached first, but when he turned the job down, Tarantino then recommended Gaiman.
Although Tarantino might appear to be a strange choice, at that point in time, he already had quite an impressive resume, having released Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown, the latter two of which were put out by Miramax. Gaiman certainly seems a better fit, though, since in 1997, he was best known as the writer responsible for the masterpiece from DC’s recently defunct Vertigo imprint, The Sandman. Of course, by now Gaiman is much more of a household name, having written the books behind two rather popular shows, Good Omens (co-written with Terry Pratchett) and American Gods. Both have been very well-received by both audiences and critics, and the latter was picked up by Starz for season 3. A TV show based on The Sandman was also recently ordered by Netflix.
It’s interesting to consider how different Princess Mononoke could’ve been with Tarantino behind the wheel. The director has a very specific style that doesn’t feel like it would necessarily work too well with Miyazaki’s. Gaiman, on the other hand, seems like a logical choice from the start and his script is still considered by many to be one of the better adaptations of Miyazaki’s work. We’ll never know what kind of changes Tarantino would’ve made, but obviously, it all worked out for the best for Princess Mononoke.
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Source: Neil Gaiman