The Barrier Pokémon has been in the series right from the start, but even The Pokémon Company aren’t entirely sure what Mr. Mime is.
When the team behind the Pokémon: Detective Pikachu was exploring bringing the clown-like pocket monster to life in the movie, they turned to The Pokémon Company for guidance.
However, they weren’t sure about how to describe what Mr. Mime was or even convinced that it was a good choice for the movie – even if it ended up being one of its funniest scenes.
“When Rob [Letterman, the film’s director] suggested using Mr. Mime, we asked The Pokémon Company, ‘What is he?’ They went: ‘We don’t know.’ They were actually trying to dissuade us from using him, because they weren’t sure what he was or whether he’d work well on screen. That was a bit of a strange one,” art director Ravi Bansal explained to TIME.
Visual effects supervisor Erik Nordby adds: “When you look at the character, it instantly feels creepy. We had to figure out what aspects we could push and pull. We settled on the idea that every surface needed to feel like a toy. His joints are those dodge balls we used to play with when we were kids. His gloves are the inflatable gloves you’d get at a fair. We had to find all of these evocative textures that just felt childlike.
“His shape is so so simple: It’s a series of balls and very simple shapes. So you constantly look for little tiny things that have a high level of detail that can counterbalance that very simplistic overall silhouette. The adding of very subtle freckles is something we found was very successful – it also helped with it looking a bit more cute.”
Pokémon: Detective Pikachu is out now at cinemas worldwide.