I choose you, Ryan Reynolds!
You already know him as Deadpool and Green Lantern, and now Reynolds is about to add another iconic pop culture character to his repertoire. Reynolds has just been cast as the titular character in Detective Pikachu, the first live-action (plus CGI) Pokémon movie (via Variety).
Detective Pikachu isn’t the Pikachu — at least not the one you probably remember as the partner of one Ash Ketchum. Based on the 3DS game Great Detective Pikachu, a spin-off of the main Pokémon franchise released in Japan in 2016, the film features a Pikachu who can talk and fancies himself as a great detective, and his assistant, a young boy, as they go about solving crime. Legendary Entertainment acquired the rights to a film adaptation in July 2016 — around the time that the Pokémon Go! phenomenon was exploding — and Alex Hirsch and Nicole Perlman penned the script. Goosebumps’ Rob Letterman will direct.
Following the release of the Great Detective Pikachu game in Japan last year, fans speculated as to who could voice Pikachu in an English-language version. Danny DeVito was by far the fan favourite, with an online petition encouraging Nintendo to cast him attracting almost 40,000 signatures. Alas, when the idea was brought to DeVito, he was unfamiliar with Pokemon and said he would not voice the character. With DeVito not an option, producers looked to Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, and Hugh Jackman before ultimately deciding on Reynolds.
Reynolds joins a cast which already includes Paper Towns’ Justice Smith as the human lead, and Kathryn Newton playing a journalist. Variety reports that the film’s story will revolve around the kidnapping of Smith’s character’s father. Filming on Detective Pikachu will begin in January 2018.