Ken Watanabe
Kathy Hutchins /

Ken Watanabe has joined the cast of ‘Detective Pikachu‘ in the original role of Detective Yoshida.  The cast already includes Justice Smith (‘The Get Down’, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’) who portrays Tim Goodman, Kathryn Newton (‘Big Little Lies’, ‘Supernatural’) as Lucy and Ryan Reynolds who is portraying the titular Pokémon.  (It’s unclear at this time whether Reynolds will provide a motion capture performance or just the voice.)

‘Detective Pikachu’ is expected to begin shooting this month in London.  Rob Letterman, who helmed ‘Goosebumps‘, is attached to direct with a script by Alex Hirsch and Nicole Perlman.  The film is being produced by Legendary, who also produced 2014’s ‘Godzilla’, in which Watanabe appeared as Dr. Ishiro Serizawa.  He will reprise the role in the sequel ‘Godzilla: King of Monsters’ which is currently in post-production to be released next year on March 22, 2019.  ‘Detective Pikachu’ will be produced by Legendary’s Mary Parent and Cale Boyter, with Alexandra Mendes co-producing.  Joe Caracciolo Jr. and Pokemon’s Tsunekazu Ishihara are executive producing.

In ‘Detective Pikachu’, Tim Goodman’s father is kidnapped and the young man must team up with the Pokémon in order to track him down.  The character Lucy is a reporter who winds up helping them out.  Watanabe’s character does not originate in the ‘Pokémon’ games or cartoons, so it’s unclear what his part in the story will be.

Watanabe can frequently be heard as the voice of Drift in the ‘Transformers’ movies.  He is also a frequent collaborator with Christopher Nolan, having appeared in ‘Inception’ and ‘Batman Begins’.  He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Katsumoto in ‘The Last Samurai’ opposite Tom Cruise.  In addition to his Hollywood work, he continues to act in various film and television projects in Japan, including a samurai adaptation of the Clint Eastwood western ‘Unforgiven’ in 2013.

‘Detective Pikachu’ will be released on May 10, 2019.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter