It’s Chris Pratt, Mario!
The first look at Nintendo, Universal, and Illumination’s animated feature film “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” stars Pratt as the viral video-game lead Mario. The teaser debuted at New York Comic Con.
Pratt lends his voice to the Italian cartoon character, alongside Charlie Day as Mario’s brother Luigi and Anya Taylor-Joy as love interest Princess Peach. Jack Black plays Bowser, with Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong and Keegan-Michael Key as Toad. The film premieres April 7, 2023.
The official logline reads: A plumber named Mario travels through an underground labyrinth with his brother, Luigi, trying to save a captured princess.
“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.”
“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 continued, “I’m not sure this is the smartest defense, but as a person who has Italian-American heritage, I feel I can make that decision without worrying about offending Italians or Italian-Americans…I think we’re going to be just fine.”
Meledandri called the project “unlike any film Illumination has made to date.”
“The production so far is constructive and going very well, and both parties are learning a lot from each other,” Nintendo representative director Shigeru Miyamoto added of working with Universal and Illumination. “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.”
Producer Meledandri previously told TooFab in November 2021 that he could “understand the comments” about Pratt’s appropriation of Mario’s exaggerated Italian persona. “We cover it in the movie, so you’ll see we definitely nod to that,” Meledandri explained of the accent, clarifying, “That’s not the tenor of the performance throughout the film.”
“Guardians of the Galaxy” star Pratt teased in an Instagram video that he’s been “working hard” on the accent for the cartoon character’s famous catchphrases like “it’s-a-me, Mario!” Pratt formerly voiced animated characters in “Onward” and “The LEGO Movie.”
“Super Mario Bros.” premieres April 7, 2023 in theaters.
Check out the teaser below.