The quest to have Danny DeVito as the voice of Pikachu is one that has eluded fans for years. When the Detective Pikachu movie was announced, it gave a brief glimmer of hope. Though the role went to Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds, apparently DeVito did play a role — so to speak.
Speaking with Game Informer, Detective Pikachu producer Cale Boyter explained that they'd actually shot some test footage with the Dumbo actor, and "thought about it and how it might inform the spirit of it."
"I can’t give away too much, but in terms of where the story goes and how it evolves, we had to sort of look at everything, including what fans weren’t seeing yet, to make the decision," Boyter said. "But that spirit of Danny DeVito, I promise you, is still inside of Pikachu."
The film's VFX producer, Greg Baxter, added that the test footage in question involved syncing up the digitally rendered Pokemon to existing audio from various actors' other performances, including DeVito.
"It was really very funny, so I couldn’t speak to all the reasons why it wasn’t Danny DeVito cast,” Baxter says. “I love Danny, and some point, maybe after the movie comes about, we can share those early tests. It’s absolutely hilarious."
Obviously, Reynolds has stolen all of our hearts as the Merc With a Mouth, and the trailer indicates he'll be perfectly delightful in the role. Still, DeVito was excellent in The Lorax, and one can't help but wonder what his strangely endearing gruffness would've brought the character. Or in this case, what it already has.
We'll have to wait and see when Detective Pikachu bounces into theaters May 10.