Chris Pratt’s casting as Mario in Illumination’s The Super Mario Bros. Movie is still causing rumbles on social media months after the original announcement was made. The arrival of the first trailer for the 2023 release, with its first introduction to Pratt’s take on the iconic plumber, further fueled the fire for those who really don’t want to see Pratt voicing the character, but co-star Khary Payton has jumped to his defense, calling the outcry nothing but an overreaction.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie is looking to boot up a whole new franchise based on the classic Nintendo video game character and the world he inhabits. With the likes of Sonic the Hedgehog has made a hugely successful leap to the big screen, Illumination will be hoping that their previous success with movies like the Despicable Me franchise will be repeated on the Mushroom Kingdom.
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While speaking to Insider, Payton, who has previously come under fire himself for voicing Cyborg in Teen Titans Go!, said that the backlash against Pratt is just people online overreacting. His full comment was:
“People always overreact online… I actually think that he’s doing kind of like this New York, Italian guy — like a cousin of ‘The Sopranos’ or something, which, I think, is kind of a fun take on it rather than being, ‘It’s a me, a Mario’.”
The ironic thing about the backlash against Pratt’s casting is that one of the first times Mario ever spoke was in the 1994 live-action Super Mario Bros movie when he was played by Bob Hoskins and was from Brooklyn, New York. It seems that something about having Mario on screen in animated form just makes fans want to hear his classic animated voice, which is usually provided by voice actor Charles Martinet.
Should Chris Pratt Have Been Cast as Mario?
Movie studios always want to give their movies the best chance of being a huge success, and usually, a big star name attached to any movie will give it a boost at the box office. For that reason, having someone like Pratt on board is a no brainier. The actor has appeared in two of the biggest movies of 2022 in Jurassic World: Dominion and Thor: Love and Thunder, and he also scored a hit on Prime Video in the action series, The Terminal List. As the voice of Mario, Pratt is almost guaranteed another box-office blockbuster.
However, fans haven’t been the only ones who have pushed back against Pratt’s casting, with renowned voice-over artist Tara Strong being among those who spoke out against the Guardians of the Galaxy star being cast ahead of Martinet. At the time, Strong posted an image of herself with Martinet on her Twitter account, simply commenting, “It should be Charles.”
Despite Strong’s comments, and those by John Leguizamo calling out the lack of diversity in the casting, Chris Pratt will be the voice of Mario, and in general, reactions to the overall look and feel of The Super Mario Bros. Movie have been positive. Time will tell whether that will translate into box office takings when the movie is released on April 27, 2023.