Actor joins cast of in-production film from Legendary Entertainment based on already-forgotten footnote to smash-hit Pokémon franchise.

After announcing it had acquired the rights to make a live-action Pokémon film last summer, Legendary Entertainment became very quiet about the project. You could almost think that they were hoping everyone would forget about the whole thing, which wouldn’t be an unimaginable desire.

See, Legendary boldly proclaimed it would be basing the film off of Great Detective Pikachu, which at the time of the announcement was the latest video game release in the franchise. But the game is also a strange spin-off starring a private eye Pikachu that was never released outside of Japan and has already been completely overshadowed by the Pokémon Sun and Moon games which came out later the same year, making Legendary’s plan for a live-action Pokémon movie smell like something being handled by studio executives with no actual knowledge of what the franchise is or why it’s popular.

But Legendary isn’t backing away from its Detective Pikachu plans, and has finally gotten around to casting it. The lead human roles have been given to Justice Smith and Kathryn Newton, and now comes word that Legendary has found its Pikachu in Ryan Reynolds.

Reynolds isn’t an entirely crazy choice, as his crowd-pleasing performance in Deadpool shows he’s a talented voice actor who knows how to handle cartoony dialogue with aplomb. However, his smarmy charm is pretty much the polar opposite of original Pikachu voice actress Ikue Otani’s chipper sweetness, and also of the deep, composed, shibui in-game voice for Detective Pikachu (yes, Pikachu voice acting exists in a three-dimensional space with more than two poles). It’s hard to imagine Reynolds delivering the tear-jerking human-language dialogue that Pikachu speaks to Ash in the latest Pokémon anime movie, for example.

Then again, Legendary’s Detective Pikachu movie sounds like it’s going to be a break from Pokémon tradition in a number of ways, including the plot, which the Hollywood Reporter describes as:

“The story is kicked into gear when Smith’s character’s father is kidnapped, forcing the teen to team up with Pikachu in order to find him. Newton will play a sassy journalist who helps them on their quest.”

Also of note is that the Pikachu part for the film is rumored to a motion-capture role. No word on whether Reynolds will be handling that aspect either, but fans should at least be prepared for a Pikachu that sounds like nothing they’ve ever heard for the character before. In the meantime, I can’t help but keep my fingers crossed that Legendary reverses field and decides to stick strictly to standard Pokémon conventions by giving Reynolds dialogue that consists only of variations of “pika.”

Source: The Hollywood Reporter via Cinema Today via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Wikipedia/Gage, SoraNews24 (edited by SoraNews24)

Follow Casey on Twitter, where he has to admit that if he did need the services of a private investigator, and Pikachu was an option, he’d probably hire him.