Live-action films are very much a thing now, but very few of them are as highly anticipated as Detective Pikachu. The long overdue Pokemon adventure hits theaters this May, and we got a chance to visit the set of the Rob Letterman directed flick. Ryan Reynolds stars as the infamous pocket monster, Pikachu, whose CGI form looks amazingly realistic yet light and cartoonish at the same time. Justice Smith also stars in the film as as Tim Goodman, a former Pokémon trainer looking for his missing father. Goodman is also Detective Pikachu’s partner, and the only person that can hear hear him speak.
We spoke to Justice on the London, England set of DP and he dished more on what is was like having an animated co-star and how much he enjoyed working with Ryan Reynolds.
“Ryan is awesome, he’s hilarious. So, we basically went through the whole film with Ryan on a soundstage, with Ryan in a motion-capture helmet. And, so I got to see how he improvised, what he was gonna do, what he was gonna say, how he was gonna act. And then we have a reader who reads Ryan’s lines, but I essentially have to remember what Ryan did on the day. And then do my side of it, when we’re shooting.”
“Things change around, and they’re gonna fix some stuff in post with Ryan, but for the most part it comes down to memory. We also recorded the tape so I can listen to them back, and remember what he did. But it’s just the whole team trying to work together, and they have been. It’s a really difficult beast. But it was insane. I can’t even explain it. It’s my childhood dream come true”
Speaking of the set —production designer Nigel Phelps brought the Pokemon Universe to life in ways that will your mind when you see the film. According to Phelps, he made it a point to not borrow architecture or inspiration from any of the fictional cities in the 2016 Japanese video from whence the film was based on. Instead, he opted for more realistic details, such as tall skyscrapers and underground fight clubs, that makes the viewer feel like the Pokemon Universe is an actual place on the planet.
“We’re trying to make a very realistic film, albeit with the most strange cast of characters that make it very unworldly. We’re trying to create a world where, in the fantastic beasts sense of the word, we’ve got a very realistic environment, where these amazing creatures can exist in a believable fashion.”
“The color patterns have been quite neutral, so lots of grays and blacks and whites, to help offset the very, the pattern of colors that all the creatures have. And a lot of them are really tiny as well, so it got right down with all the floors and a lot of the ground surfaces, so that you get, any color that we have on the light stuff is reflected on the floor. All the streets and the exterior stuff is in and around the city of London and Shoreditch.”
The fashion in the film is pretty next level, too! One of the scenes fight club moment in the Pokemon Battle Arena a.k.a Rhyme City (ran by Charizard’s owner Sebastian) aesthetically called for very grungy yet kitchy vibes. Costume Designer Susie Harmon told us,
“It’s very, probably the most creative out-there look. Some punk meets goth meets Tokyo street fashion; anything basically. RnB, you name it. Everything just mashed up together, underground fight club basically. Did a lot of research in the anime, to get a sense of what the key looks were.”
“Especially for the lead actors, just to give it a grounded but that slight cartoony feel about it. Just to give it the silhouette and how the guys tend to wear their clothes in the anime, and the women, with those lovely little skirts, and the hair. So yeah, definitely to get a sense of fully anime, rather than the games.”
Earlier this month, it was announced that Detective Pikachu will also be adapted into a graphic novel. According to Legendary Comics, an official movie graphic novel titled POKÉMON Detective Pikachu will debut online and in stores in summer 2019, following the film’s release. There’s also a sequel to the 2019 film already in the works.
Detective Pikachu will definitely make all of your nostalgic, 90’s, Pokemon dreams come. Don’t miss out on the live-action when hits theaters on May 10.