[INTERVIEW] How the ‘HOME ALONE’ reference found its way into ‘POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU’

Justice Smith and Det. Pikachu in POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU. Courtesy of Warner Brothers Pictures.

Courtney Howard // Film Critic

Director Rob Letterman’s POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU loves to put the emphasis on the irreverent. Whether it be found in the humorous overtones, or when it explores the outrageous concept of humans and Pokémon living a harmonious existence, the irreverent nature of the narrative always remains at the forefront. Being that Pokémon itself is a monumental pop culture phenomenon, the filmmaker was also able to weave references in to other huge milestones from television and film.

Not only is there an apropos mention of SEINFELD’s “Serenity Now” chant, there’s also a well-placed cinematic callback eagle-eyed audiences will notice. In a scene taking place early on, Tim (Justice Smith) enters into the Ryme City apartment of his estranged father, who has recently disappeared under mysterious circumstances, to find the television blaring a black and white gangster film. That film is ANGELS WITH FILTHY SOULS, the fake movie Kevin McCallister watches in HOME ALONE.

Letterman told me over the phone during the film’s recent New York City press day that there had always been a genre film playing on the television, they just hadn’t specified which one.

Mark Sanger, my editor, and myself were putting together the assembly/ director’s cut. We needed something and I hadn’t figured out what I was going to put on that TV yet. It was always scripted there was some film noir-y, detective film there. Just as a laugh, we got the movie that they shot for HOME ALONE off of YouTube at some point and used it as a temp.

We could never beat it! It got to the point of it being well, why not try to license it. We got it cleared, miraculously, and it became this funny inside joke just to us.

As to if it at all relates to the Pokémon universe, Letterman laughed and said,

It means nothing to the Pokémon Universe, but means everything to the generation – my generation – that’s slightly older than the Pokémon generation.

‘POKÉMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU’ opens on May 10. Read our review here.

About author

Courtney Howard

Courtney Howard is a LAFCA, CCA, OFCS and AWFJ member, as well as a Rotten Tomatometer-approved film critic. Her work has been published on Variety, She Knows and Awards Circuit.