According to Smith, the film’s director Rob Letterman set out to create a gritty, noir-like setting for the movie. The crew tried to shoot on location as much as possible, and used real film instead of digital to better reflect that vision. In Smith’s view, this more realistic backdrop helps make the more fantastical Pokemon stand out more.
Smith: There wasn’t a lot of green screen. Our director, Rob Letterman — I’m getting better at saying last names, Rob Letterman — wanted to shoot on location as much as possible. We shot in London, and for like a week in Scotland which is like a desktop background. He had this vision to put the Pokémon up against this urban backdrop and use this gray, grainy filter. We shot on film so it gave it that natural grain.
V: So it’s like a noir?
Smith: Yeah, exactly. Because the Pokémon are so fantastical, to put them up against this realistic backdrop makes them pop more. That kind of drew me into wanting to do the film, because you can so easily go into this zany realm. I loved Rob Letterman — I don’t know why I’m saying his last name still — because he was all about the actor and our performance and keeping it loose on set and improvising and responding naturally.
In addition, Smith also talked about his favorite Pokemon, as well as the film’s reception by older fans of the series.
Smith: Totodile is still my favorite Pokemon. I have a little Totodile figurine. My generation and the older people of my same generation, they all tweeted me when the trailer came out. They were the people who were most excited. I was just getting response from people in their 30s. I agree with the people on social media talking about the different character designs and stuff, and debating over the way that the characters were realized in such a way. It’s so engaging.
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