Some Italian-Americans and Nintendo fans were angered to see that actor Chris Pratt was cast to voice Mario in the upcoming animated film, Super Mario Bros. Fans fumed over the fact that Pratt is not of Italian descent.
Illumination and Nintendo have put together a voiceover cast for Super Mario Bros., according to a report by Deadline, which added that the film is also being co-financed between Universal Pictures and Nintendo.
“We are collaborating with Chris and his experienced team to not just create a character licensed film, but a new piece of entertainment which brings Super Mario Bros. to life on the screen, and allows everyone to enjoy whether or not they know about the game,” said Shigeru Miyamoto, Representative Director and Fellow of Nintendo.
Other actors cast in include actor Charlie Day as Luigi, Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, actor Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael as Toad, Seth Rogan as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike.
“Each voice actor was cast for their ability to capture the unique spirit of their character,” read a Thursday press release.
Pratt has had several high-profile voice acting roles, including Disney’s Onward and WarnerBros.’ The Lego Movie. Still not everyone, however, agreed with the decision to cast Pratt, and promptly took to social media to share their dismay.
Actor Vincent Martella tweeted, “chris pratt is playing mario” alongside a still frame from HBO’s hit TV series The Sopranos, in which Silvio Dante says: “It’s anti-Italian discrimination.”
chris pratt is playing mario pic.twitter.com/KiWVoVkY5z
— Vincent Martella (@VinMan17) September 23, 2021
“Charlie Day is fine starring as one of the characters, being that he’s Italian on his mother’s side, but Chris Pratt ain’t Italian. I’m Italian, and I have some thoughts on who should play who. Charlie Day should play Mario and Jason Biggs should play Luigi,” another Twitter user wrote.
“funniest thing about chris pratt playing mario is that hes gonna be making a cringy italian accent. like jesus if they REALLY had to pick a celebrity they could have at least picked an italian celebrity lol,” another said.
“why r y’all having chris pratt (a white man) play mario (an italian poc person),” one Twitter user asked.
“Danny Devito should’ve been Mario not Chris Pratt, we were robbed,” another commented.
Danny Devito should've been Mario not Chris Pratt, we were robbed. pic.twitter.com/SRYjIRgfjI
— Lucina(Hiatus)🇲🇽🇺🇸🏳️🌈 (@LucinaDraws) September 23, 2021
“IM SCREAMING AT CHRISS PRATT AS MARIO IS THIS A JOKE,” another Twitter user wrote.
“i wonder if we’re going to hear chris pratt’s attempt at a mario voice/italian accent or just his regular american accent and i dont know which is worse,” another commented.
“If you told me Chris Pratt would voice Mario before today I would have blocked you,” another said.
“Chris PRATT AS MARIO WHAT THE FUCK IS HE EVEN ITALIAN,” another inquired.
The casting choice also appeared to offend Nintendo fans, one of whom suggested voice actor Charles Martinet be cast as Mario, as he was the original voice for the character in the Super Mario video game series.
“No one wants to see them reinvent Mario to act like Chris Pratt,” the critic affirmed.
Man I’m not even watching the Nintendo Direct yet but lemme say: Fuck this casting celebrities as video game characters in their movies thing. Let Roger Craig Smith be Sonic, let Charles Martinet be Mario, no one wants to see them reinvent Mario to act like Chris Pratt.
— Matt Shipman (@MattShipmanVO) September 23, 2021
Super Mario Bros. is set to hit theaters on December 21, 2022.