There was Pika-fever in New York City tonight, as a ceremonial yellow carpet was laid out in advance of the U.S. premiere of Pokemon Detective Pikachu. Pretty much everyone there was, ahem, as they say — trying to catch 'em all.
SYFY WIRE was there, and we caught up with two of the stars of the new film — the first Pokemon story to be told in live action. Chris Geere is mostly known to American audiences from the FX series You're the Worst as well as Modern Family, but in the world of Detective Pikachu he plays the villainous media mogul Roger Clifford.
Though the actor didn’t have a preference when it came to a Starter Pokemon, he did make it known that he's overall partial to the dragon-like Charizard. As he said, "I think Charizard is a big favorite of mine, I get to have a very cool scene with Charizard in the movie. I think with Game of Thrones and everything, a fire-breathing dragon is always fun.”
Did any of the Pokemon creep him out? “Yeah, quite a lot of them, actually," he said, adding, "Mr. Mime, certainly...but he’s super funny as well so you can’t dislike him.”
The legendary Bill Nighy plays Geere's father in the film, and Geere, unsurpisingly, let it be known that Nighy is a great guy. Geere's Clifford is a villain, though, so was letting his character's villainous side out a little bit fun for him? “Always fun. I’d read the scripts, and I was like yeah, that’s gonna be fun," he said.
Can we expect more genre work from Geere? Possibly, yes. As he said, “I think it’s quite interesting to do something different from what you did before, so going from You’re the Worst to Modern Family to this has been interesting.” Is there any genre property in particular that he has his eye on? There is, as a matter of fact.
“I’d like to be in Doctor Who one day. I can put that out in the universe, he said. "This is just me chucking that out there, maybe one day I can be the 14th Doctor, something like that. We shall see.”
Omar Chaparro plays Sebastian in the film, and this is his biggest film in the US to date. Like Geere, he is also partial to Charizard.
“Sebastian is the Charizard trainer, so I couldn’t pick another one. I’m loyal," he said. None of the characters creeped him out (like Mr. Mime), but he did mention the weirdness of being surrounded by puppeteers dressed in green screen suits. That turned out to help rather than hinder in the end — "It helped me a lot because the puppeteers that did his big head did a wonderful job.”
Chaparro is also quite adept in martial arts, which is a skill he gets to show off in the movie. “Rob [Letterman] the director, he let me do my own stunts. He knew that I’m a black belt in karate and he was very open and excited, so I was very fortunate. I loved doing that.”
Will Chaparro stay involved in the Pokemon universe? From what he said, it sounds like he could be. “We hope to have the sequel. I feel like it’s gonna be a massive success," he said. “I don’t know about my character, but if Charizard is going to be in the sequel, then it needs to be Sebastian training him."
Pokemon Detective Pikachu opens on May 9.