Fans have reacted to the Illumination CEO’s defence of casting Chris Pratt as Mario in the Super Mario Bros film.
It caused a stir on Twitter in September when it was announced that the Guardians of the Galaxy star would be voicing the character in a forthcoming animated film, also starring Anya Taylor-Joy and Jack Black.
The film is being made by the Illumination label, with Nintendo and Universal co-financing the project.
Pratt’s name began trending on social media today (25 November) as fans reacted to news that the actor will be voicing Mario without the thick Italian accent typically associated with the character.
Speaking with TooFab, Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri called Pratt’s Mario voice “phenomenal”. He said that he “can’t wait for people to hear it”.
Meldandri went on to address some complaints about Pratt – a non-Italian actor – voicing the Italian plumber.
The CEO said that as an Italian-American he understands the concern and pointed instead to the casting of Luigi as their “nod” to the characters’ Italian heritage.
“You know, I understand the comments,” he said. “Charlie Day, who’s playing Luigi, actually comes from Italian heritage. Yeah, so that’s our nod.”
“We cover it in the movie,” said Meldandri. He also revealed that Pratt will not be leaning into the “it’s-a me, Mario” accent typical of the character.
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“That’s not the tenor of the performance throughout the film,” he said.
People on social media have reacted to Meldandri’s comments, with many predicting that Mario will instead sound exactly like Pratt normally does.
“Is it because Chris Pratt can play exactly one role and they should’ve hired a real voice actor instead?” asked one person.
“Love the idea that we have to pretend he’s going to do ‘a voice’ at all. It’s gonna sound like Chris Pratt. He’s gonna do Chris Pratt’s voice,” wrote another user.
Someone else agreed, writing that “the ‘phenomenal voice’ is literally just going to be Chris Pratt’s standard ‘wide-eyed protagonist’ voice”.
“If Chris Pratt does use his normal voice for Mario, I can predict the movie will spawn countless memes by just the trailer alone,” added a fourth person.
Someone else quipped: “A horror movie where everyone’s voice is slowly starting to sound like Chris Pratt.”
American actor Charles Martinet has been voicing Mario in the popular video game series since the Nineties.
The film is set to appear in cinemas on 21 December 2022, via Universal Pictures.
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