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Movie Interviews

Michael Sinterniklaas: Behind the English-language Dub of “The Boy and the Heron”

The latest (and possibly last) film by Hayao Miyazaki, “The Boy and the Heron,” is a beautifully rendered anime with outstanding voice work.  It also has the distinction of being Miyazaki’s first No. 1 film in the U.S. and Canada, and the second Japanese film to make a splash at the U.S. box office in 2023, “Godzilla Minus One” being the other.

“The Boy and the Heron” is playing in the U.S. in two versions: one in the original Japanese with English subtitles, and one with an English-language dub. Studio Ghibli, which produced the film, worked with GKIDS, a film distribution company in New York, to assemble an excellent English-language cast that includes Robert Pattinson, Mark Hamill, Karen Fukuhara, and Florence Pugh (not to mention Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, and Willem Dafoe). But how do you get such a cast to provide the level of voice work expected of a film from a master such as Miyazaki?


Enter Michael Sinterniklaas.

Sinterniklaas is not only an accomplished voice actor himself, but a seasoned dialogue/voice director with his own company, NYAV Post, which has recording facilities in Los Angeles and New York. As a voice actor, his roles have included Leonardo in the 2003 version of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and Dean Venture on “The Venture Bros.” He’s also Mikey in a personal favorite TV series, “Kappa Mikey” (2006-2008), and about 272 more voice contributions to anime, animation, and video games. 

His voice director credits include “Lego Monkie Kid: The Emperor’s Wrath” (2023), “Star Wars: Visions” (2021), “My Life as a Zucchini” (2016), and dozens more. Sinterniklaas’ multi-talents are in high demand.

The engaging Sinterniklaas spoke with The Nerd Element recently about his work directing the English-language voice cast of “The Boy and the Heron.”  The conversation includes his work with Robert Pattinson and Dave Bautista on the Heron and the Parakeet King, respectively, working on a Miyazaki film in general, and just what “lip-flap” means in animation.

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