Chace Crawford (The Boys), Manny Jacinto (Nine Perfect Strangers), Hunter Schafer (Euphoria) and newcomer Kylie McNeill will lead the English-language voice cast for Mamoru Hosoda’s Gkids awards contender Belle, which is scheduled for release alongside the original Japanese-language version in U.S. theaters (including select Imax screens) on January 14, with exclusive Imax previews in select markets beginning January 12.
Others lending their voices to the new dub include Paul Castro Jr., David Chen, Jessica DiCicco, Brandon Engman, Martha Harms, Jessica Gee George, Barbara Goodson, Bentley Griffin, Andrew Kishino, Wendee Lee, Ben Lepley, Noelle McGrath, Julie Nathanson, Aaron Phillips, Ellyn Stern, Frank Todaro, Kiff VandenHeuvel, Cristina Vee Valenzuela, Tom Bromhead, John Bentley, Tiana Camacho, SungWon Cho, Courtney Chu, Larissa Gallagher, Heather Gonzalez, Xanthe Huynh, Anjali Kunapaneni, LilyPichu, Kyle McCarley, Julie Nathanson, Zeno Robinson, Stephanie Sheh, Michael Sinterniklaas, Rachel Slotky and Laura Stahl.
Hosoda’s (Mirai, The Boy and the Beast)’s latest film with Studio Chizu is his first to screen in Imax and his highest-grossing to date, having topped the Japanese box office for three consecutive weekends upon its July 16th release. It’s a fantastical, heartfelt story of growing up in the age of social media, centered on Suzu, a shy, everyday high school student living in a rural village. For years, she has only been a shadow of herself. But when she enters “U”, a massive virtual world, she escapes into her online persona as Belle, a gorgeous and globally-beloved singer. One day, her concert is interrupted by a monstrous creature chased by vigilantes. As their hunt escalates, Suzu embarks on an emotional and epic quest to uncover the identity of this mysterious “beast” and to discover her true self in a world where you can be anyone.
McNeill will voice both Suzu and Belle, also recording English versions of songs for a soundtrack set for release via Milan Records on January 14. Crawford will voice the character of Justin, with Jacinto as Shinobu and Schafer as Ruka.
Hosoda produced Belle with Studio Chizu co-founder Yuichiro Saito, with Jin Kim designing its titular character. Oscar-nominated filmmakers Tomm Moore and Ross Stewart (Wolfwalkers) of Cartoon Saloon contributed artwork for various virtual fantasy worlds depicted within the film, with up-and-coming British architect and designer Eric Wong designing the world of “U,” and Ludvig Forssell serving as composer.
The English-language version was produced by Gkids and Nyav Post, with the original music team, including Taisei Iwasaki, Takayuki Chiyo, and Ludvig Forssell, supervising the English-language song adaptation in collaboration with the companies.
Belle made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and made its North American premiere at the New York Film Festival. The film has also played in competition at the London Film Festival, Fantastic Fest, and Los Angeles’ Animation is Film festival, where it was awarded the Special Jury Prize.
Gkids is a producer and distributor of award-winning animated features which has scored 12 Best Animated Feature Oscar nominations since its founding in 2008 with The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Ernest & Celestine, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya, Song of the Sea, Boy and the World, When Marnie Was There, My Life as a Zucchini, The Breadwinner, Mirai and Wolfwalkers. The company also handles North American distribution for the famed Studio Ghibli film library, as well as the television series, Neon Genesis Evangelion, and hosts the Animation Is Film festival, taking place annually in Los Angeles.
Crawford is represented by Podwall Entertainment, CAA, and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller; Jacinto by Alchemy Entertainment, CAA, Principals Talent & McKuin Frankel; Schafer by CAA, Untitled Entertainment, Viewpoint and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern; and McNeill by Carson Adler.
Check out the English-language trailer for Belle above.