The Live Action Pokemon Movie Has Found Its Lead Actress

Kathryn Newton in Big Little Lies

Rather than follow in the footsteps of the Pokemon anime and depict Ash Ketchum's adventures across the Kanto region, the upcoming live action Pokemon movie will instead be based off Great Detective Pikachu, a video game that's only available in Japan. Earlier this month, we learned that The Get Down's Justice Smith had been tapped to play one of the Pokemon movie's human protagonists, and today brings word that Big Little Lies' Kathryn Newton may soon be joining him in the spotlight.

According to Variety, Kathryn Newton is currently in negotiations to come aboard the Detective Pikachu movie as its lead actress. No details were provided about her character, but according to a report from last month, the movie's protagonists are a pair of teenage humans named Tim and Lucy. Assuming this information is legitimate, then it stands to reason that Newton is being tapped to play Lucy and accompany Justice Smith's Tim. Lucy is described as a junior investigative reporter who is working on a story about Pokemon turning on their trainers. She and her Psyduck will cross paths with Tim and his gruff-talking Pikachu.

Kathryn Newton's first major role was playing Louise Brooks in the short-lived TV series Gary Unmarried. Her other TV appearances include Dog with a Blog, Supernatural and Halt and Catch Fire, and she most recently played Abigail Carlson in Big Little Lies. In the movies realm, she performed in Bad Teacher, Paranormal Activity 4, Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Along with the Detective Pikachu movie (assuming a deal is finalized), Newton's other upcoming projects include the Little Women miniseries and the Supernatural spinoff series Wayward Sisters.

Since launching in 1996, the Pokemon franchise has enjoyed popularity through TV shows, video games and trading cards. There have also been numerous animated movies connected to the long-running TV saga, but Detective Pikachu marks the first time that the property has been adapted for the big screen in a live action setting. Like the Great Detective Pikachu video game, this movie will involve a crime-solving Pikachu who isn't as powerful as the other electrically-charged mouse creatures, but makes up for that with enhanced intelligence. He can also communicate like a human, although only his owner can understand him. There's no official word on who will voice this cinematic Pikachu, although rumored candidates have included Ryan Reynolds and Mark Wahlberg. Goosebumps director Rob Letterman is helming this Pokemon movie, while Alex Hirsch and Nicole Perlman tackled the script. Production is reportedly expected to begin early next year.

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on the live action Pokemon movie as they arrive. In the meantime, you can start planning your trips to the theater next year by looking through our 2018 movie premiere guide.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.