The live-action Pokémon movie, Detective Pikachu, has found its female lead in Big Little Lies‘ Kathryn Newton. It’s been an incredibly busy year for the young actress, who has been around for a while. Longtime fans will recognize her from her recurring role on Supernatural, where she plays troubled teen and blossoming hunter, Claire Novak, and she’s had steady work on television and small parts in movies since the early 2000s. The past year has seen her career truly take off, however, with her role as Abigail Carlson in Big Little Lies, Supernatural spinoff Wayward Sisters being announced, and another recurring role on Halt and Catch Fire. On the movie end of things, Newton can currently be seen in two critically acclaimed films: Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Pre-production on Detective Pikachu looks to be moving full-steam ahead. Legendary recently announced it had cast Netflix’s The Get Down star Justice Smith in the male lead role. While it’s unclear who he is playing at this moment, it’s likely he won’t be playing Ash Ketchum, the main character and Pokémon Trainer from the Pokémon anime and manga. Instead, with the movie being based on the Great Detective Pikachu video game, it’s possible Smith could be playing Tim Goodman, a boy who befriends Detective Pikachu in the game.
Now, Variety is reporting that Kathryn Newton is in negotiations to star opposite Smith in the live-action Pokémon movie. As with Smith’s casting, there are no details regarding the role Newton is set to play. In the Great Detective Pikachu video game, the adventure of Pikachu and Tim Goodman begins when they solve a case involving Aipom that have been causing mischief around the city and stealing jewelry, in particular from one girl. It’s possible that could be Newton’s role, but with the shine on Newton’s career right now and her talent, it’s likely that they’d revamp the storyline to allow her to be a co-lead with Smith.
With the casting falling into place, all the pieces are starting to come together for Legendary’s live-action adaptation. Rob Letterman is set to direct Detective Pikachu, and the script by Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch appears to be shaping up nicely. Universal Pictures, as it always does with Legendary’s films, will handle the distribution outside of Japan while Toho will handle distribution for Japan. There’s no official release date set yet, but with things speeding along, it’s likely we’ll hear news about that sooner rather than later.
In the meantime, along with Wayward Sisters, Newton is busy with the upcoming Little Women TV miniseries, in which she’ll play Amy March. The miniseries is currently in post-production, as is Newton’s comedy movie, Blockers. Newton is also prepping for her role of Ivy Burns in drama Ben is Back, where she’ll star opposite Julia Roberts.