Illumination boss addresses Chris Pratt ‘Super Mario Bros.’ backlash

The world was shocked when Chris Pratt got cast as the iconic video game character Super Mario in a currently untitled film releasing next year, and now Illumination animation boss Chris Meledandri says those who poo-pooed the idea are in for a big surprise.

“Chris was cast because we felt he could give a great performance as Mario. And now that we’ve done about 15 recording sessions, and the movie is three-quarters done, I sit here and say that I love his performance as Mario. I think we’re gonna be just fine. Especially because (Pratt) he’s given such a strong performance.”

Meledandri comments on the creative choice in an article published by Variety. One of the initial qualms when Pratt was announced for the project was his lack of Italian heritage, but Meledandri says with his background he is qualified to make the choice, and is not ultimately worried about offending the ethnicity which claims the fictional plumber as one of their own.

“[Considering I have] Italian-American heritage, [I can] make that decision without offending Italians or Italian Americans.”

The untitled Mario movie is set to release in April 2023. It also stars Charlie Day as Luigi, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, Jack Black as Bowser, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong and Charles Martinet in cameo appearances. The piece will be animated, and in contrast to the 1993 live-action film, Nintendo itself is more involved. Shigeru Miyamoto is even listed as a producer, and the console company is one of the outfits steering the idea from pre-production to the silver screen for its audience.

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