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It might not be the Knives Out follow-up that fans are still expecting, but writer/director Rian Johnson has already completed a brand new project for the world to enjoy. But don’t get your hopes up for a full-length experience coming to a streaming service near you, as this particular effort from the director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi sees him doing something much shorter, and a lot cuter. More specifically, Rian Johnson went and directed a commercial for the augmented reality game Pokemon Go, for some very personal and fandom related reasons.
Discussing his work on the 30 second spot with The Verge, Rian Johnson revealed that he had directed the commercial remotely, as this Pokemon Go ad was shot in New Zealand. Johnson also explained in this interview that, thanks to his own fandom of the legendary Nintendo property, the decision to take on this project was as easy as powering a lightbulb with a Pikachu:
Pokémon Go has kept me engaged with my friends remotely as I’ve been practicing physical distancing these past few months. As a longtime Pokémon trainer, it was a real pleasure working with Niantic on this spot. It was a new experience for me to direct a production remotely, and I enjoyed the highly collaborative process and think we put together a fun and upbeat commercial that fans will enjoy.
Promoting this year’s first virtual Pokemon Go Fest, set to take place on July 25th and 26th, this Rian Johnson directed commercial is just the sort of whimsical distraction people could use in light of current events. It’s also a firm reminder that people are still looking forward to a sequel for Pokemon: Detective Pikachu, which means that in the light of that films’ lack of movement, this is pretty much the next best thing. More importantly, this entire experience is a win for virtual production models, and more traditional filmmakers embracing such enterprises.
In a time where film productions are ready to get back underway in the UK, and other projects based in the US are eagerly awaiting their turn to get the cameras rolling, Rian Johnson has taken a pretty big step forward in his own education involving remote directing. And it sounds like he not only took to the process pretty naturally, but the results have certainly been quite fruitful to watch. Take a look for yourself by watching the Pokemon Go ad, directed by Rian Johnson, for yourself below:
If you find yourself wanting to watch more of Rian Johnson’s conventional theatrical narratives, you can find his most recent film, Knives Out, available on Prime Video for streaming. Also, if you’re a fan of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you can catch that magic over on Disney+.