Bill Nighy has joined the live-action/animated Pokémon adventure Detective Pikachu. With a career that spans nearly 40 years in film and television, Nighy established a solid reputation in his native England long before his international breakthrough role in the Golden Globe nominated rock comedy Still Crazy in 1998.
Playing an aging singer who helps reassemble a famously fractured rock act 20 years after an ugly break-up, Still Crazy launched an incredibly successful second act to Nighy's career, landing roles in such hit films as Love Actually, the Underworld saga, Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, Valkyrie, About Time and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Nighy also played the tentacled villain Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, a motion capture role in which his human form was concealed for most of the film, apart from a brief scene. Showing his extraordinary ability to play in both comedy and serious roles, Nighy has been in high demand for the past 20 years in Hollywood, even in voice roles for such animated films as Rango and Arthur Christmas.
Now, Nighy has been tapped for a high-profile project that combines both live-action and CGI, and features an iconic Pokémon character, to boot. Universal Pictures announced Tuesday that Nighy has joined the cast of Detective Pikachu, along with fellow British actor Chris Geere. The film stars Ryan Reynolds as the voice of the CGI Pikachu, who enlists the help of a human partner (Justice Smith) to locate the famed Pokémon and find his missing father. Since Detective Pikachu is set in the Pokémon universe, other notable Pokémon characters are expected to turn up in animated form in the film, which started production last week.
Universal didn't reveal too many details on Nighy's role in Detective Pikachu, only to say that he and Geere will play a father and son duo in the film. There's also no word about how central the action duo's roles are to the plot, and whether they'll be featured as lead or supporting characters. Detective Pikachu, which also stars Ken Watanabe and Kathryn Newton, is being directed by Goosebumps helmer Rob Letterman.
With any luck, Letterman will make Nighy a big part of Detective Pikachu. Nighy brings a unique presence to every film he's in, and his offbeat comedic sensibilities (who can forget his entertaining turn as over-the-hill singer Billy Mack in Love Actually?) seem to be a perfect match for Reynolds' irresistible comedic charm. Of course, audiences have yet to learn whether Reynolds' Pikachu will speak English or Pikapi (or both), but either way, Nighy shouldn't have any problem making the most of his role.
Source: Universal Pictures
- Detective Pikachu (2019) release date: May 10, 2019