Young actor's lead role in new Netflix film

Louie Rudge-Buchanan
Louie Rudge-Buchanan voiced the role of Rudger in Studio Ponoc's The Imaginary [ALP Photography]

A teenage actor said he was excitement by the release of a new animated film in which he voiced the lead character.

Louie Rudge-Buchanan, 14, of Eyke, Suffolk, has a starring role in The Imaginary, a feature-length fantasy movie from Japanese animation company Studio Ponoc which is now streaming on Netflix.

The student, who hoped to become a professional actor, provided the voice of an imaginary friend of a young girl in the film, which is directed by Yoshiyuki Momose who is known for his work with animation giants Studio Ghibli.

“It was an absolutely amazing experience and I really enjoyed it,” said Louie, a pupil at Farlingaye High School in Woodbridge.

Louie Rudge-Buchanan recording his lines in a studio
Louie recorded his parts in a studio in London last summer [Ellie Rudge-Buchanan]

The Imaginary, based on a children’s novel by A.F. Harrold, was released in Japan at the end of last year and rights to the English language version were secured by Netflix, which began streaming the film last week.

Louie, who has previously acted in a number of short films, recorded his lines at a studio in London last summer after being chosen for the role when his agent sent a voice recording to the producers.

“They had the screen with the film playing and it was quite tough because I had to match up my voice with the mouth movements because it was already pre-animated,” he said.

“I was doing it all on my own. Sometimes I'd be lucky to be doing a scene with the other actors talking.”


The actor had a chance to see the finished film at a private screening in London last month, joined by fellow cast members and his parents James and Ellie.

“It was nerve-wracking but it was amazing to see me - well, not really me, but my voice - on the screen. It was probably one of the best feelings I will ever feel,” he said.

“It’s an amazing film, it’s an amazing story, everything about it is just amazing - the way it’s made, it’s hand-painted everything.”

In the film, Louie’s character Rudger joins his real-life friend, Amanda, on wild and wonderful adventures before being drawn into his own world of “imaginaries”.

Louie's mum said the similarity between her son's name and the lead characters was “a happy, strange coincidence”.

Film critics have given The Imaginary positive reviews.

The Daily Telegraph praised its “artistry” and “visionary spark” and The Guardian described it as “a moving and charming testament to the delights of dreaming”.

“My dream is to just keep it going, keep getting more roles, just keep building my career up,” said Louie.

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