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DVDTalk Interview - Daveigh Chase - Chihiro in Spirited Away
by Geoffrey Kleinman

DVD Talk Interview - Daveigh Chase - Chihiro in Spirited Away

At 13 years old, Daveigh Chase already has an impressive career. In the past year she has played the lead in 2 Oscar Nominated films: Lilo & Stitch and Spirited Away as well as a major role in The Ring. Daveigh has more diversity in her resume than most actresses twice her age. But make no mistake, Daveigh is a lot like any other 13 year old girl: she likes to hang out with her friends, have sleep overs and when she 'grows up' she wants to sing, act, go to MIT, be a fashion designer AND run a horse ranch. We had an opportunity to talk to Daveigh about the DVD release of Spirited Away about her performance in the lead role of Chihiro, how it compared to working on Lilo & Stitch as well as her much more intense work as the creepy girl in The Ring.

When you were doing the voice acting for Spirited Away did you have a chance to work with Hayao Miyazaki?

No I didn't. I did get a chance to meet Miyazaki at the Toronto Film Festival when the film was finished.

How was it working with John Lasseter and Kirk Wise?

He's a really nice guy, he was fun to work with. I liked working with Kirk Wise too as he did 'Beauty and The Beast' my all time favorite animated movie.

How different a process was it making Spirited Away from Lilo and Stitch?

With Spirited Away the animation was already done and so they would have like maybe a few mouth flaps and I would have this really long line to say and I would still have to fit in the emotion and personality while talking really really fast. Whereas with Lilo and Stitch I could take my time more because the animation wasn't done yet.

Did you have a preference between the two ways of doing voice acting?

Both were a lot of fun, Spirited Away thought was just more challenging.

Had you seen any other Miyazaki films before doing Spirited Away?

I saw Kiki's Delivery's service, I love that movie. I want to see Castle in the Sky and my Neighbor Totoro.

Before you did your own performance of Chihiro, did you watch the Japanese performance of Chihiro for the Japanese version? Did it influence your performance?

I saw the Japanese version with subtitles, but since she's talking in Japanese she put a lot of different inflections on her voice. I did it my own way. I was influenced more by the character of Chihiro because I can relate to her, we're the same age.

Do you have a favorite part or scene in Spirited Away that you particularly connected with?

I really loved the Stink Spirit. That scene was really good. It was actually exhilarating watching that scene. Also the scenes with 'No Face' he reminds me of people I've know. No Face just wanted to belong. I also really liked when Chihiro was flying in the air with Haku and she was crying out of joy, that scene was just really beautiful.

You were the lead actress in two films nominated for Best Animated film. On Oscar night, which one did you root for?

Both films. They both were deserving and I love them both. Lilo and Stitch is very special to me it's a wonderful family film with the whole feeling of ohana, which means family. Miyazaki who did Spirited Away he's just an amazing storyteller and the movie is really beautifully done he has this childlike imagination and I really loved it. I'm honored to be a part of both of them really.

How much time did it take to record the audio for Spirited Away?

About twenty hours about over a short period of time.

How does that compare with Lilo and Stitch?

I started working on it when I was eight, it was the first thing I did. And then the last point I worked on it was when I was eleven, three or four months before it came out.

At 13 you already have quite a career. On one hand you've played very notable lead roles in Spirited Away and Lilo and Stitch and the other you've done much darker roles like in Donnie Darko and The Ring. How do you transition between the two and which do you like working on more?

I like dark dramatic roles, they're just really powerful and real. I love doing the bright happy stuff too, everything is really fun, I like doing it all really. I loved working on Donnie Darko, I learned a lot from the cast, Jake Gyllenhaal and the producers. I love doing what I do because I get to meet so many great people.

How do you balance such a busy career with all the things that a regular 13 year old would do - school, hanging out with friends?

Actually I have more time for it, I'm home schooled and I have a tutor most of the year. I hang out with my friends, go bike riding, hang out with my friends, go shopping and have a lot of fun.

Going forward do you think you'll want to do more animation, drama, music? I'd love to star in dark drama that audiences could really relate to. I want to keep on doing what I'm doing. I'd also like to perform on Broadway in a musical, would love to go to MIT for robotics and genetic engineering, be a fashion designer and have a horse ranch. I also love singing and I'd like to write my own songs, do a CD. I have A LOT of goals and so far they're all coming true.


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