'Super Mario Bros.' Producer Talks Decision to Cast Chris Pratt as Mario in New Movie

"Well, as an Italian American myself, I understand. You know, I understand the comments,' producer Chris Meledandri said about Pratt being cast as Mario.

Chris Pratt attends the premiere of Amazon's "The Tomorrow War"

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 30: Chris Pratt attends the premiere of Amazon's "The Tomorrow War" at Banc of California Stadium on June 30, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/WireImage)

Chris Pratt attends the premiere of Amazon's "The Tomorrow War"

Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri, the company that’s producing the upcoming animated Super Mario Bros. film with Nintendo,​​​ defended the decision to cast Chris Pratt in the role Mario

In a conversation with TooFab, Meledandri called Pratt’s voice acting in the movie “phenomenal.”

“All I can tell you is the voice that he’s doing for us and Mario is phenomenal. Yeah I can’t wait for people to hear it,” Meledandri said, before commenting on Pratt not being an Italian like the Mushroom Kingdom resident he’s voicing. “Well, as an Italian American myself, I understand. You know, I understand the comments… Charlie Day, who’s playing Luigi, actually comes from Italian heritage. Yeah so that’s our nod.”

Meledandri also said that Pratt will not be using a thick Italian accent in his portrayal​​​​​​​.

In a video he posted to Instagram in September announcing that he got cast in the role, Pratt recalled a story about playing the game in his youth.

“So as a kid I lived in Lake Stevens, Washington and there’s this coin-operated laundromat near my house and it had Super Mario Bros., the original arcade game, Oh, I love that game,” he said. “I never had a quarter… I’d either steal them from the wishing well… It just dawned on me right now—the quarter I stole out of the wishing well to play Super Mario Bros. has come true that I get to be the voice of Mario.”

The stacked voice cast includes Anya Taylor-Joy in the role of Princess Peach, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and Sebastian Maniscalco as Foreman Spike.

The Super Mario Bros. Animated Film movie is heading to theaters in North America on 12/21/22!

Check out the voice cast for the upcoming movie below 👇 pic.twitter.com/Xj31P6hk6y

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) September 23, 2021

“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,” Nintendo​​​​​​​’s Shigeru Miyamoto​​​​​​​, the Japanese video game designer who created the Mario character, previously said, perVariety. “The production so far is constructive and going very well, and both parties are learning a lot from each other. We humbly ask that fans wait just a little longer for the premiere, and we hope they look forward to seeing the unique characters from Super Mario Bros. on the big screen.”

The film is set to be released next year on December 21, 2022.

In other news, Pratt will also be vocing the character of Garfield in a forthcoming animated film.

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