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Chris Pratt responds to ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ casting controversy

With the film’s premiere just on the horizon, Pratt responded to the criticism surrounding his role as Mario.

TODAY -- Pictured: Chris Pratt on Friday, March 31, 2023 -- (Photo by: Nathan Congleton/NBC via Getty Images)

Created by Shigeru Miyamoto for Nintendo, Mario has since become one of the most recognizable video game characters in history.

Known for his Italian accent and red cap, the character is set to make a return to the big screen in ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’. However, when the casting was announced in September 2021, it was met with a fair amount of criticism from fans online.

Specifically, in regards to Chris Pratt as Mario.

Responding to the backlash

The criticism only grew when the film’s first trailer was released and fans caught a few lines of Mario’s dialogue. The main issue is that Pratt doesn’t change his voice much for the character, forgoing Mario’s iconic Italian accent.

“It makes sense,” Pratt told The Hollywood Reporter, “I was pretty nervous when they offered it to me. I thought, ‘Wow, let’s not screw this up.’

“That’s where it all comes from, I think. People are passionate about this character and they’ve probably seen from of their favorite IP getting screwed up.

“It’s kind of a cynical business. People make movies just because a title has reach.”

Director defends Pratt as Mario

Director Aaron Horvath defended the decision to cast Pratt as Mario.

“We wanted to make sure that Mario felt like a real character in this movie, that he’s a real guy with a real family, really flesh him out,” Horvath said. “He’s this everyman.

“He’s a plumber, he goes to a magic world and becomes this great hero, and Chris Pratt plays that character so well.

“He’s funny, he’s down-to-earth and he’s also superheroic, so he really checked all of the boxes for us.”

Why no accent?

Horvath also explained the decision to not give Mario his signature Italian accent.

“Our feeling was you wouldn’t believe that he was a real character doing that accent for the entirety of the film,” he said.

“We grew up with the [1989] ‘Super Show!’ and the movie where part of it is they’re from Brooklyn, so it just felt like a natural course for us to take.”

‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ releases in theaters on April 5.


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