Sonic the Hedgehog director Jeff Fowler announced that, following massive fan backlash, he and his team would redesign the titular hedgehog. Rob Letterman, director of the upcoming Detective Pikachu, knows a thing or two about adapting beloved video game animals for live-action, big screen appearances, and he's now commented on that decision.
“There’s no right or wrong to how you make one of these movies," he told The Verge. "It would be very difficult for us to redesign anything. We spent a year designing all the characters ahead of shooting so that we could get it all right. If we were off by an inch on Pikachu, [actor] Justice Smith’s performance would go right out the window. For us, it would have been impossible -- but that doesn’t mean they can’t do it. I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes — they’re in a difficult spot.”
The process that integrates live actors with CGI characters is meticulous. While Letterman reflects on how difficult it will be to adapt Sonic back into pre-shot footage made with the original design in mind, he does reflect how his team went about creating their digital Pokemon.
“We studied a lot of animals and how they behave and how they interact to ensure we got it right," he said. "Bulldogs, in particular, for Bulbasaur and how they act in packs or how they get you to pay attention. There’s an extraordinary amount of craft that went into making the movie on the animation side as we tried to bring everything to life.”
Fowler has indicated Sonic the Hedgehog will not be pushed back as a result of the coming overhaul. However, it's unclear just how Sonic will look when everything is done.
Directed by Rob Letterman from a script written by Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, Detective Pikachu stars Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe and the voice of Ryan Reynolds. The film opens May 10.
Opening Nov. 8, director Jeff Fowler's Sonic the Hedgehog stars Ben Schwartz as Sonic and Jim Carrey as Dr. Robotnik, with James Marsden, Neal McDonald, Tika Sumpter, Adam Pally and Natasha Rothwell.