Not everything is just peachy in the world of “Super Mario Bros.”
The Nintendo movie adaptation, from Universal and Illumination, stars Chris Pratt and Charlie Day as plumber brothers Mario and Luigi. The duo set out to save Princess Peach, played by Anya Taylor-Joy, as Bowser (Jack Black) and Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen) stand in their way. Keegan-Michael Key voices Toad.
“Super Mario Bros.” is directed by Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, both “Teen Titans Go!” alums. The screenplay is written by Matthew Fogel, who penned “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part” and “Minions: The Rise of Gru.”
The film first garnered controversy over the lack of Italian voice acting casting, namely with Pratt as Mario. Producer and Illumination Studios founder and CEO Chris Meledandri curbed any casting doubts over the lead star.
“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,” Meledandri said during the CineEurope convention via Deadline. “When people hear Chris Pratt’s performance, the criticism will evaporate, maybe not entirely — people love to voice opinions, as they should.”
Meledandri also called the project “unlike any film Illumination has made to date.”
Former live-action “Super Mario Bros.” star John Leguizamo, who played Luigi in the 1993 opposite Bob Hoskins’ Mario, told IndieWire that the animated film’s casting is “going backwards.”
“I’m O.G. A lot of people love the original. I did Comic-Con in New York and in Baltimore, and everyone’s like, ‘No, no, we love the old one, the original.’ They’re not feeling the new one,” Leguizamo told IndieWire. “I’m not bitter. It’s unfortunate.”
Leguizamo recalled his turn as Luigi in the 1993 “Super Mario Bros.” movie. “The directors Annabel Jankel and Rocky Morton fought really hard for me to be the lead because I was a Latin man, and they [the studio] didn’t want me to be the lead. They fought really hard, and it was such a breakthrough. For them to go backwards and not cast another [actor of color] kind of sucks.”
“The Super Mario Bros.” premieres April 7, 2023.
Check out the trailer below.
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