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The co-producer of the Super Mario movie has confirmed that Chris Pratt won’t be replicating Mario’s thick Italian accent.
After being approached by a reporter for toofab at LAX airport, Illumination co-founder and CEO Chris Meledandri was asked how Chris Pratt was going to pull off Mario’s voice.
“All I can tell you is the voice that he’s doing for us and Mario is phenomenal,” Meledandri replied. “I can’t wait for people to hear it.”
Meledandri was then asked why an Italian wasn’t cast for the role (despite the fact that Mario’s usual voice actor Charles Martinet himself isn’t Italian), to which he replied: “Well, as an Italian-American myself I understand the comments. Charlie Day, who’s playing Luigi actually, comes from an Italian heritage. So that’s our nod.”
As for how much Pratt is going to lean into Martinet’s thick Italian accent, Meledandri stated that Pratt wouldn’t be adopting the same accent, but that the reason for this would be addressed in the film.
“We cover it in the movie,” he explained. “So you’ll see that we definitely nod to that, but that’s not the tenor of the performance throughout the film.”
Nintendo revealed during a Nintendo Direct presentation in September that The Lego Movie and Jurassic World star Pratt would be playing Mario in the upcoming CGI Super Mario movie, which is being co-produced by Meledandri and Shigeru Miyamoto.
In addition to Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy (Queen’s Gambit) has been cast as Princess Peach, Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) as Luigi and Jack Black as Bowser. Seth Rogen will also play Donkey Kong in the movie.
“Mario and Luigi are two of the most beloved heroes in all of popular culture, and we are honoured to have the unique opportunity to work closely with Shigeru Miyamoto and the widely imaginative team at Nintendo to bring these characters to life in an animated movie unlike any film Illumination has made to date,” Meledandri said following the cast announcement.
Miyamoto added: “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.
“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.”
Meledandri was nominated as a new outside director of Nintendo in May 2021. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa also recently indicated that Nintendo is exploring the possibility of creating more animation content featuring its other game series.