Have you checked out Poupelle of Chimney Town yet? For anime fans with families, or just for those who are young at heart, this steampunk fairy tale of a film is a perfect pick for movie night. Its main character is Lubicchi, a young chimney sweep who longs to prove that stars exist past the constant smog of his hometown. We spoke briefly with 12-year-old actor Antonio Raul Corbo, the voice of Lubicchi, about his experience with his first anime role and where he’d like to take his career in the future.
Warning – spoilers ahead!
Interview with Antonio Raul Corbo
So, I watched Poupelle of Chimney Town and totally loved it! Was this your first anime role?
Yes, it was. It was a little bit challenging, but I love anime and I definitely wanted to do it. I had said to my mom a couple weeks before I got [the role], “I really want to start doing anime.” So I was trying to get into it, and then I got this amazing role.
Oh, you were an anime fan beforehand? What shows do you like?
Death Note, Darling in the Franxx… I’m watching Tokyo Ghoul right now, and I’m going to start watching Attack on Titan.
Nice! Those are good choices, for sure. Slightly of a different genre than Poupelle, but you know…
So, for you, how is acting for anime different than the live action or Western animation that you’ve done?
When I was filming for Poupelle, I had to match the lips and get the right inflection – get my lines right. So I liked that, actually, probably a little bit more than the normal animation that I’m used to. But what I saw, really, was that on-screen work and the dubbing that I was doing were pretty much the same because I was going all out with my hands. I talk with my hands a lot. It kind of felt like I was just being filmed with a camera and I was just doing a movie like that.
Yeah, it’s cool that you see that as a challenge and not as a detriment, because I wondered, “If this is his first anime role, I wonder if that’s more difficult.” But it’s difficult in a good way.
I thought that some of the more comedic scenes kind of sounded like improv a bit. Were you able to deviate from the script at all, or were you supposed to stay really close to it?
Actually, I was basically just staying on the script, unless somehow I messed up and they didn’t see it and put it in! (laughs) The writing was just really, really good. Ahihiro Nishino [the screenwriter/executive producer] did amazing, and it really felt like just talking, throughout the whole movie, basically. I really liked how natural it felt.
I thought it sounded really natural, too. I was impressed by that. So that was just the writing team – all right!
What were some of your favorite scenes to record? You’re a main character, so there are funny scenes, dramatic scenes, there’s all kinds of stuff.
There are probably two main ones. There’s the cave scene where I’m going through all of the crystals and stuff. I have that one picture where Poupelle and Lubicchi are chasing each other with the crystals behind them hanging up on my wall because I thought it looked really cool.
And probably the other scene that I liked was my monologue right before I’m going to go up on the ship – when I’m speaking to everyone. That was a very, very good scene; it probably took two days to film just to get it right. So we’d come back to it after a couple days, like, “All right, we’re going to do it.” And then, “Eh, we’ll do it next time.”
Yeah, that is the big monologue in the movie. I liked that a lot. I also really liked when Lubbichi thinks that Poupelle is his dad, but Poupelle can’t remember. It’s just very sad, but the emotion in the voice there, I thought was really, really beautiful and well done.
Yes, that’s when my mom cried in the movie.
I… I did, too. I was like, “I’m not going to cry!” And then I did.
Yeah, the cast really just… Tony Hale [who plays Poupelle], Stephen Root [who plays Bruno], Misty Lee [who plays Lola]… everyone did so good and Hasan Minhaj [who plays Scooper] did amazing. Everyone was amazing when it came to it – it just felt so natural, and really just like you were seeing a bunch of normal people who you see in your everyday life interacting with each other. And if you want to see it, it’s coming out on VOD and digital download May 17th, and on Blu-Ray and DVD May 31st!
There you go! And I know you had said that you wanted to do more anime – where do you see your career going from here? Would you want to do more live action acting, more voice acting, a mix, something like that?
Probably a mix, but I really want to start getting more into drama, and especially with anime in general. And not Western animation, just anime, because I think that there’s more power and depth – you don’t really see a lot of that in Western animation, and there’s more of a story and it’s less goofy in anime. At least in what I’m doing, but I’m also a kid, so I’m getting a lot of kid roles. So it’s cool to see that animation is not just goofy – there’s really something powerful and meaningful there.
That’s great! Thanks so much for chatting with us today, and good luck with everything in the future!
Antonio is a very talented actor and has big ambitions for the future in the world of anime, so we wish him well and hope to see him in many more anime roles from now on! As he mentioned, make sure to check out Poupelle of Chimney Town in whatever way your heart desires – it’s already out as a VOD and a digital download, and it will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD on May 31st.
What did you think of our interview, and of the movie? Be sure to let us know in the comments, and thanks so much for reading!