Ever since its first appearance in the original trailer, Mr Mime has become one of Detective Pikachu’s breakout characters. However, according to director Rob Letterman, its iconic scene was nearly removed from the film entirely.
Speaking to IGN, Letterman recounted his journey to bring the Barrier Pokemon to the big screen. The initial concept was simple: A classic film noir detective scene, only with a (Mr) Mime. Letterman went as far as to consult a real mime to come up with, and act out the jokes on set with the cast. Since the man was a lot taller than Mr Mime however, they had to stick eyes on his stomach so Justice Smith knew where to look.
Letterman: “It was the most awkward, weird thing to shoot. Just reenacting it for you now is making my head explode. It was bizarre,”
Aside from the jokes, making Mr.Mime “realistic” like all the other Pokemon featured in the film presented its own set of problems. This was because Mr.Mime was a Pokemon not based on a real animal, and had a lot of human-like features and cartoonish features that were difficult to translate into the real world.
“[Mr. Mime] basically broke all the rules of what’s going on in our movie…There’s all this technology that goes into bringing those Pokemon characters to life. Because we’re basing them on real-world physics. Then comes in Mr. Mime, which is bonkers because you can’t do any of that stuff with it. So we thought okay, how do we get some sort of sense of photo real texturing in without breaking the Mr. Mime kind of cartoon nature of him? That led to a lot of discussions…It went on forever until we finally landed on what you could describe as funny and disturbing.”
So daunting was the task of making Mr.Mime work, that Letterman starting having serious doubts about including the scene in the movie. This sentiment was shared by The Pokemon Company, who were very reluctant to even give him permission to use Mr.Mime for the film.
“Full disclosure, I thought no way in a million years would [the Mr. Mime scene] work. Honestly. It was so weird. I wanted to cut it at one point, because I was like this can’t possibly work. It’s insane,”
“The most uncomfortable question was me asking permission to put [Mr. Mime] into the movie, because I went to The Pokemon Company. I was like I have this idea for this scene, and it requires realizing Mr. Mime photoreal into the live-action world. They thought about it, and [based on all the reasons listed above], they literally looked at me, like yeah you don’t wanna do that. That’s not gonna work. That’s gonna be too weird. That’s gonna be creepy. For all those reasons, it can’t work. It came to the point where I literally had to ask the President of the whole Pokemon Company, Ishihara-san. I gave him the whole pitch, and he started laughing, and he’s like okay, give it a shot,”
As we all know however, the completed scene turned out great. Its hands down one of the funniest moments in all of Detective Pikachu’s promotional materials, and probably the film itself. We look forward to watching the full scene in its entirety when the film premiers on May 10 2019.
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