Chris Pratt’s voice role as Mario in “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” has been a matter of debate ever since he was cast. After all, Pratt isn’t Italian, and many fans were baffled when the film’s first trailer dropped last October, revealing Pratt’s Brooklyn-heavy Mario voice. It’s not a concern for the film’s directors, Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath. The filmmakers told Magazine Total Film that casting Pratt made sense given the Mario at the center of their story.
“It’s a bit of an origin story. It’s the story of Mario becoming Super Mario,” Horvath said of the film, adding that finding the perfect Mario voice meant finding an actor who could play a credible Brooklyn plumber who’s “a laborer from a family of Italian immigrants. ”
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“It made perfect sense to us,” the director stressed about casting Pratt. “He is very good at playing a working-class hero with a heart for the cause. For the way Mario is characterized in our movie, he’s perfect for it.
Pratt said Variety last year that he “worked really closely with the directors” to find the Mario voice that made sense for the story.
“I tried a few things and came up with something that I’m really proud of and I can’t wait for people to see and hear it,” Pratt added. “It’s an animated voice-over story. It’s not a live action movie. I’m not going to wear a plumber’s suit everywhere. I’m providing a voice for an animated character, and it’s updated and unlike anything you’ve heard before in the Mario world.”
One of the film’s biggest detractors to date was John Leguizamo, who brought Luigi to life opposite Bob Hoskins’ Mario in 1993’s live-action “Super Mario Bros.” The actor told IndieWire last year that “The Super Mario. Bros Movie” went “backwards” by having two white actors voice Mario and Luigi. “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” actor Charlie Day plays Luigi in the film.
“I’m OG. A lot of people like the original,” said Leguizamo when asked about his thoughts on the new Mario movie starring Chris Pratt. “I did Comic-Con in New York and in Baltimore, and everyone was like, ‘No, no, we like the old, the original.’ They don’t feel the new one.’ I’m not bitter. It’s unhappy.”
“My directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton fought very hard to get me to play the lead role, because I was a Hispanic man, and they [the studio] didn’t want me to star,” the actor added. “They fought really hard, and it was such a breakthrough. For them to back off and not cast another [actor of color] kinda sucks.”
“The Super Mario Bros. Movie” will be in theaters from April 5, 2023.
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