On Wednesday it was announced that 16-year-old actress Fuka Koshiba will be starring in Majo no Takkyubin, a live-action movie adaptation of Eiko Kadono’s children’s fantasy novel of the same name. Takashi Shimizu, best known for horror films like Ju-on: The Grudge and Tormented, will direct.
The novel was famously adapted to the animated feature Kiki’s Delivery Service by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli in 1989. The coming-of-age tale follows a young witch named Kiki who must leave her home for a year and use her magic to earn a living.
Koshiba has been signed with industry heavyweight Oscar Promotion since 2011 when she passed an audition of 35,390 candidates. The audition for the role of Kiki in the new film came down to about 500 girls.
As soon as the news began circulating around various Japanese media outlets, Koshiba wrote a note about it which was scanned and transcribed on her official blog.
She began the note by explaining that she’s been on many auditions in the year and a half since her debut and experienced lots of worry and tears. However, she received constant encouragement from fans, her office, and her family.
Koshiba described her experience hearing the news that she passed the audition, writing that she was stunned and cried tears of joy.
She went on to explain that she initially felt some anxiety about playing a character that’s so well known, mostly due to the Studio Ghibli version. However, she added that she thinks this version will be different and wants to play her own version of Kiki based on the original book.
Filming of “Majo no Takkyubin” will begin on an island in the Seto Inland Sea in May. A theatrical release is slated for a spring 2014. Those involved with the production are reportedly already eyeing worldwide distribution with the goal of turning the film into a film series.