Kathryn Newton, who broke out in her turn as Reese Witherspoon’s daughter in “Big Little Lies,” is in negotiations for the female lead in Legendary’s Pokemon film titled “Detective Pikachu,” based on the titular character, sources tell Variety.
“The Get Down” star Justice Smith will co-star opposite Newton.
Rob Letterman is on board to direct from a script by Nicole Perlman and Alex Hirsch.
First introduced in Japan in 1996, Pokemon has spawned more than 295 million video games sold worldwide, 23.6 billion trading card game cards shipped to 74 countries, and an animated series spanning 20 seasons. The hugely popular “Pokemon Go” app saw the pocket monsters surge back into the pop culture consciousnesses last year.
Universal Pictures will handle distribution of the live-action film outside Japan, as it has done with Legendary’s other films for years. The Pokémon Company’s long time movie collaborator, Toho, will handle distribution of the film franchise in Japan, which it previously did for its partnership with Legendary on “Godzilla.”
Newton’s credits include HBO’s Emmy-winning “Big Little Lies” and movies “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Upcoming projects include the role of Amy March in the BBC’s “Little Women” miniseries, the CW/WB’s Supernatural spinoff “Wayward Sisters,” the Universal comedy “Blockers” for Point Grey Pictures, and “Ben Is Back” opposite Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges.
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She is represented by Innovative Artists and Management 360.