Mamoru Hosoda's Belle Film Holds Global Casting Call for Singing Extras

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The official website for Mamoru Hosoda and his Studio Chizu's new Belle (Ryū to Sobakasu no Hime, literally "The Dragon and the Freckled Princess") anime film announced on Friday that the film's staff are holding a global open casting call for singing extras for a particular scene in the film. The site also revealed Taisei Iwasaki (Blood Blockade Battlefront, Dragon Pilot: Hisone and Masotan, The Naked Director) as the film's music director and composer.

The extras will take part in a pivotal scene in the film where people all over the world sing along with protagonist Belle. The site has a specific page where applicants may submit their vocal recordings of the melody (the lyrics are simply a "lalala" vocable), and are also able to listen to sample low and high-pitch vocal recordings to match their voice. This is the first opening casting call for singing extras in a work by Hosoda.

The film will open in Japan in July.

Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars,The Boy and The Beast, Mirai) is directing and scripting the film, and is also credited for the original work. The film marks Studio Chizu's 10th anniversary.

Eric Wong, a London-based architect and designer, created the concept artwork for the film's online world of U. According to Chizu, "Hosoda personally found and commissioned Eric to come up with this universal and international "internet space" from both an architectural and design perspective."

Jin Kim (Frozen, Tangled, Big Hero 6, Moana) designed the titular protagonist Belle. According to Chizu, "Mamoru Hosoda and Jin have long respected each other's work but met for the first time when Mirai was nominated for an Oscar in Los Angeles. There, they promised to one day work on something creatively together and finally realized that goal with Belle."

Chizu describes the story:

Our protagonist, Suzu, is a 17-year old high school girl, who lives in the countryside of Kochi Prefecture with her father, after losing her mother at a young age.

She loves singing with her mother more than anything else, but as a result of her mother's death was no longer able to sing.

It wasn't long before she and her father grew more and more distant from each other, and Suzu closed her heart to the rest of the world.

When Suzu felt that writing music was her only purpose left in life, she then discovers the massive online space known as “U,” where she takes on her persona, Belle.

Another me. Another reality. We are no longer limited to a single world.

Suzu quickly realizes that when she is inside “U” as her avatar, Belle, she can sing quite naturally. As she continues to showcase her own music in the virtual world, she fast becomes the rising star of “U.”

Nonetheless, that surprise is short-lived. Suddenly, a mysterious dragon-shaped creature appears before her...

Studio Chizu's previously announced that the film would portray an "ever-evolving online world" that takes place in an online world called "U," which has 5 billion registered users. Studio Chizu mentioned Hosoda's past films where virtual words play a key role, such as Digimon Adventure: Children's War Game and Summer Wars, as similar titles of exploring modern society, but based on the director's "recent insights." The studio specifically mentioned themes of "coming of age, family ties, love between parents and children, friendship that transcends species, the links between our lives."

Sources: Belle official website (link 2), Comic Natalie

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