Yesterday’s Nintendo Direct brought news about the upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. movie, including its release date and voice cast. However, not everyone is happy about who is playing Mario.
Following Hollywood’s tradition of casting celebrities in voiceover roles, Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt will voice the beloved Nintendo icon. Pratt is also known for voicing Emmet in The Lego Movie. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s Charlie Day will voice Mario’s brother Luigi, and The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy will voice Princess Peach.
Rounding out the voice cast, which is big on star power but low on noted voice actors, is Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike. Only Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek is known primarily for his voice work, including animated series The Cleveland Show, The Simpsons, and The Batman.
Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto announced Pratt’s casting with great enthusiasm. “He’s so cool,” he said. “Mario will be talking a lot in the movie.”
In addition to Miyamoto’s praise for Pratt, Nintendo seemed to be trying to get ahead of any controversy over casting in its press release for the film. “Each voice actor was cast for their ability to capture the unique spirit of their character,” Nintendo’s statement read via Deadline.
But the video game giant is facing backlash nevertheless. Fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment in Pratt playing Mario, with some arguing the famous Italian plumber should be played by someone of Italian heritage.
“Chris Pratt playing Mario is Italiaphobia and I’m tired of acting like it isn’t,” one user wrote.
Others argued the role should have gone to Charles Martinet, who has voiced Mario in video games since the ’90s. Martinet will be voicing surprise cameos in the film instead.
“Let Charles Martinet be Mario, no one wants to see them reinvent Mario to act like Chris Pratt,” voice actor Matt Shipman tweeted.
But perhaps the most amusing tweet came from a user who predicted months ago that Hollywood was so out of touch it would cast Chris Pratt as Mario.
“Hollywood once again not knowing why people like the videogames [sic] they adapt or even what they are, frankly,” Twitter user @_Lizstar_ wrote back in February when Martinet revealed he had not been asked to play Mario in the upcoming film.
“I can’t wait to hear Chris Pratt as Mario,” she joked.
On Thursday, Sept. 23, she replied to her original Twitter thread after Pratt’s casting was announced.
“I NEVER MEANT TO USE MY POWERS FOR EVIL.”
Super Mario Bros. will be produced by Illumination animation studio and Nintendo, co-financed by Universal Pictures and Nintendo, and distributed by Universal Pictures. It is set to release in North America on Dec. 21, 2022, with a later date in other regions to be announced.
What do you think about Chris Pratt voicing Mario? Tell us in the comments below!