It wasn’t long after Chris Pratt was announced as the new voice for Mario in the upcoming Super Mario Bros. animated film before folks started getting mad about the casting. In a huge announcement for the movie which will now feature an all-star cast of A-list celebrities, Super Mario Bros. is getting a feature-length animated film treatment. But there were more than few folks who thought the Chris Pratt casting was ill-conceived and possibly even discriminatory against Italian Americans.
The main crux of the opposition towards Chris Pratt as Mario in Super Mario Bros was that though the character is decidedly Italian, Chris Pratt is most definitely not. There were some who thought this represented a miscasting, purposefully excluding Italian actors from the voice role even though that might have been a choice that made more sense. Several people rang in on Twitter and had Chris Pratt trending because of it. In another example of cancel culture probably being a bit too bored, there were definitely some tweets that gained traction on the platform. Check out some of the responses:
There were plenty more with opinions like this about Chris Pratt as Mario with consternation from some fans that thought the casting was a tone-def move by the movie studio. Considering the definitive Italian background for the characters, I suppose it would have made some sense to lean this direction. But, at the same time, this is Hollywood and these are only voice actors and actresses. If the goal is to make the best and biggest movie possible, then signing on the biggest names is usually the studio’s marching orders.
Because joining Chris Pratt in Super Mario Bros is a veritable who’s who of the industry. Anya Taylor-Joy will be voicing Princess Peach and then there is Charlie Day who will take on the character of Luigi. Interestingly enough, there didn’t seem to be quite the same amount of backlash but maybe that is because he is of partial Italian descent. Then there will be Seth Rogen as the voice of Donkey Kong, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, and the definitively Italian Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.
Chris Pratt and company are leading what will, no doubt, be a huge movie by the time it comes out. It’s been decades since we saw a Super Mario Bros. film adaptation with Nintendo resistant to adapting its IP after the original 1993 live-action flick pretty much sucked. This could set the stage for many more movies to come, meaning we would have Chris Pratt voicing the character as part of a franchise. Considering Illumination is the animated studio behind the project, it stands to reason they build out an entire world here as they did with Despicable Me and Secret Life of Pets.
Whether the big-mad brigade sticks around until the movie comes out next December remains to be seen. That’s when Super Mario Bros. is set to hit the big screen. My guess is this fades out relatively quickly considering it’s not all that big of a deal. And Chris Pratt is clearly excited about voicing the part, saying it’s a “dream come true”.