'Detective Pikachu' Movie Starts Filming

Production on the upcoming live-action Pokemon movie is officially underway.

Legendary Pictures announced that filming has started for their live action Detective Pikachu movie. Principal filming for the film will take place in London. Detective Pikachu is the first live-action film to be based on the popular Pokemon video game franchise.

Detective Pikachu stars Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool), Ken Watanabe (Godzilla), Justice Smith (Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom), and Kathryn Newton (Big Little Lies). Reynolds will voice the title character, a coffee swilling Pokemon that can actually talk to his human partner. Smith will play Detective Pikachu's partner, who teams up with the Pokemon to solve the disappearance of his father. Watanabe will play a human detective and Newton will play a junior reporter with a Psyduck who assists Detective Pikachu on the case.

The movie is based off the Detective Pikachu game, which was released in 2016 in Japan. The game received rave reviews and attracted mainstream attention when Pokemon fans petitioned the Pokemon Company for an English version of the game with Danny DeVito voicing Pikachu. An expanded version of the game will be released in the United States in March along with an extra-sized amiibo of Detective Pikachu himself.

Legendary Pictures obtained the live action movie rights to the Pokemon franchise in 2016 shortly after the franchise regained mainstream popularity due to Pokemon Go. Legendary surprised fans when they announced they were adapting the Detective Pikachu game instead of doing a live-action version of the Pokemon movie.

Rob Letterman (Goosebumps) will direct the movie with a script written by Nicole Perlman (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Alex Hirsch (Gravity Falls). The Pokemon Company's Tsunekazu Ishihara and Joe Caracciolo Jr. (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) serve as executive producers, while Mary Parent and Cale Boyter from Legendary serve as producers. Visual effects for the film (which likely include CGI versions of Pokemon) will be provided by Moving Picture Company (Wonder Woman) and Framestore (Paddington 2).

Universal Pictures will distribute the film outside of Japan, while Toho will partner with Legendary for Japanese distribution.

Detective Pikachu arrives in theaters on May 10, 2019.