Normally, an animated Super Mario Bros. movie would be cause for celebration among gamers. But Nintendo fanatics couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow when Universal and Illumination revealed that Chris Pratt will provide the voice of Mario in the film. Pratt’s casting has been a source of controversy ever since it was announced back in September, with several fans agreeing that the role should have gone to Charles Martinet, who’s been voicing Mario’s video game adventures since the early ‘90s. Now, one of the film’s producers is addressing the backlash.
Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri defended his studio’s casting decision in a recent interview with TooFab. Naturally, one of the main concerns with Pratt’s involvement is whether he can match Mario’s high-pitched Italian cadence. And when asked if Pratt will “lean into” the character’s traditional accent, Meledandri implied that he’s bringing something new to the table.
“We cover it in the movie,” said Meledandri. “So you’ll see we definitely nod to that, but that’s not the tenor of the performance throughout the film.”
Being an Italian-American himself, Meledandri said that he understands all the criticism. Regardless, the film’s cast isn’t completely without any Italian voices. Meledandri also noted that Charlie Day, who’s playing Luigi, comes from an Italian background.
“All I can tell you is the voice that [Pratt]’s doing for us, and Mario, is phenomenal,” added Meledandri. “Yeah, I can’t wait for people to hear it.”
Super Mario Bros. will hit theaters on December 21, 2022.
Do you like the idea of Pratt creating a new voice for Mario in the film? Let us know in the comment section below!
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