The live-action Pokémon movie Detective Pikachu, coming from Legendary, is adding high-caliber talent faster than a Nintendo fan can explain the Japanese monster-collecting portmanteau to their parents. After casting its male lead with The Get Down breakout Justice Smith, the gaming sensation’s first non-animated iteration has added a female lead as well: Big Little Lies’ Kathryn Newton.
According to the The Hollywood Reporter, Newton won the role after a long process of screen testing and script reads with Smith. In doing so, she reportedly beat out Stranger Things' Natalia Dyer, Split's Haley Lu Richardson, and 13 Reasons Why's Katherine Langford for the role.
Pokémon’s battling and capturing reach, from the anime to the trading card game to the video and mobile games, has extended to films before, but not like this. Yet, playing Reese Witherspoon's daughter in the dangerously mom-infested waters of Monterey during the HBO series allowed Newton (who has recently appeared in Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) to showcase a rebellious sensitivity and a naturalness when surrounded by monsters, which should prepare her for the role.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Newton will play the role of “Lucy, a sassy journalist who goes on an adventure with the boy, played by Smith, and Pikachu.” Pikachu (whose voice, or lack thereof, is still unannounced) will be a motion-capture CGI creation that, taking from the spinoff source material the film is based upon, will be tasked with solving mysteries as a detective.
With both leads now cast, Alex Hirsch and Nicole Perlman’s script can finally see production, slated for mid-January next year in London.