The road to Detective Pikachu was built atop a single dream: to have Danny DeVito voice the eponymous detective Pokemon. Alas, the coveted voice role ultimately went to Ryan Reynolds, but according to Detective Pikachu producer Cale Boyter Danny DeVito's voice was actually tested for the role.
Speaking with Game Informer during a visit to the Detective Pikachu movie set, Cale revealed the film's producers were aware of the meme to cast DeVito as the hard-boiled Detective Pikachu. "We definitely thought about it and how it might inform the spirit of it. Danny is incredible by the way. I am a huge fan of Danny DeVito."
Furthermore, VFX producer Greg Baxter said that the visual effects team took lines from a variety of actors and animated them to Detective Pikachu, DeVito included. While ultimately the film went with a different actor, Baxter said that DeVito's visual test was "really very funny." Baxter even hopes those tests will be made public in the future. "I love Danny and some point maybe after the movie comes about, we can share those early tests. It's absolutely hilarious."
Detective Pikachu is a live-action/CGI hybrid film set in the world of Pokemon. Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) discovers a Pikachu who only he can speak to (voiced by Reynolds), and together they go off to discover what happened to Goodman's missing father. The art style is simultaneously cute and weird thanks to the hyper-realistic way Detective Pikachu chose to depict the Pokemon.
The film is actually based on the Detective Pikachu spinoff video game that was released on the 3DS in 2016. It was then that the meme to cast Danny DeVito was born after internet meme makers dubbed the in-game Detective Pikachu with lines from DeVito's character from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
Detective Pikachu is set to come out on May 10, 2019 in theaters. You can see the newest Detective Pikachu trailer here.